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What Is Orthorexia Nervosa & Is it an Eating Disorder?

Learn what orthorexia nervosa is from Allegra Broft, M.D. in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Orthorexia nervosa is another one of these eating terms that's not an official diagnosis, but refers to an increasingly observed phenomenon of an attention to health, very healthy eating and regular exercise that of course in many people is with the best of intentions. But for people that start to get this label of orthorexia nervosa, the idea is a preoccupation with health and wellness and healthy eating and regular exercise becomes so intense that it starts to become a little bit disproportionately so. And so that peoples lives are starting to be really taken over by that preoccupation with health, rigid healthy eating and over exercising. So it's sort of a lifestyle and when it starts to become very tied to a person's self esteem and well being, at the exclusion of other things there's a possibility that really it can start to take on a life of it's own and maybe be a psychological problem worth addressing. So that's sort of the idea of orthorexia nervosa. Orthorexia nervosa is a controversial term, because people that have already committed to a lifestyle of health and wellness of course think that this is the way to go. And it may or may not be clear whether a person is engaged in very healthy eating practices and that's functioning very well for them or when a person may sort of step over the line into some of these practices starting to become a little bit problematic.

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