Orthorexia nervosa, eating patterns and personality traits: a cross-cultural comparison of Italian, Polish and Spanish university students.BMC Psychiatry. 2019 07 30; 19(1):235.BP
The amount of research about orthorexic attitudes and behaviours has increased in the last five years, but is still mainly based on descriptive and anecdotal data, yielding a variety of prevalence data and inconsistent results. The interplay between socio-cultural context and orthorexia has been poorly investigated and is still far from being understood.
Multicentre, cross-sectional study involving Italian (N = 216), Polish (N = 206) and Spanish (N = 242) university students, assessed through a protocol including informed consent, socio-demographic and anamnestic data sheet and self-administered questionnaires (ORTO-15, Eating Attitudes Test- 26 [EAT-26], Temperament and Character Inventory [TCI]).
Higher prevalence of orthorexia (as described by the ORTO-15 cutoff) was found in Poland. Female gender, Body Mass Index (BMI), current Eating Disorder, dieting, EAT-26 score ≥ 20 and low/medium Persistence were associated with orthorexia in the whole sample. The cross-cultural comparison showed several differences among the three subgroups of students.
The associations found between orthorexic attitudes, self-reported current eating disorder, BMI and adherence to a dieting need to be supported by further research. The differences among students from the three countries seem to suggest a possible rolve for cultural elements in the construct of orthorexia.