Traits of orthorexia nervosa and muscle dysmorphia in Italian university students: a multicentre study.Eat Weight Disord. 2019 Sep 17 [Online ahead of print]EW
This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of traits of orthorexia nervosa (ON) and muscle dysmorphia (MD) in a group of undergraduates, investigate the associations between the risk of these conditions and the type of university course attended, the individual characteristics (gender, BMI, amount of physical activity, supplements and medicines use, dieting) and the risk of eating disorders (EDs).
A self-reported questionnaire consisting of a socio-demographic section and three tests validated for the evaluation of a risk of ON (ORTO-15), MD (MDDI-ITA) and EDs (EAT-26) was completed by 918 students from three Italian universities.
29.0% of participants demonstrated traits of ON and 5.0% of MD, without differences in prevalence in the three areas of study investigated (health-scientific, economic-humanistic, sport sciences); students of sport sciences exhibited a significantly higher score for MDDI-ITA (F = 6.493, p = 0.002). Participants with ON and MD traits were more on a diet (OR = 0.47, p ≤ 0.001 and OR = 0.428, p = 0.020, respectively) and showed a higher prevalence of EDs risk (OR = 3.55, p < 0.001 and OR = 10.23, p ≤ 0.001, respectively). The simultaneous presence of ON, MD, and EDs traits was seen in 5.4% of the students and the three test scores were correlated.
The prevalence of ON and MD traits was found similar to that reported in the literature on undergraduates. Some associations observed improvement in the knowledge about these conditions, especially the association of participants with ON and MD traits with dieting and EDs traits and the correlation of the three test scores suggests a connection among these potential conditions.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Level V, descriptive cross-sectional survey.