August 16, 2009
Eating disorder charities are reporting a rise in the number of people suffering from a serious psychological condition characterised by an obsession with healthy eating.
The condition, orthorexia nervosa, affects equal numbers of men and women, but sufferers tend to be aged over 30, middle-class and well-educated.
The condition was named by a Californian doctor, Steven Bratman, in 1997, and is described as a “fixation on righteous eating”. Until a few years ago, there were so few sufferers that doctors usually included them under the catch-all label of “Ednos” – eating disorders not otherwise recognised. Now, experts say, orthorexics take up such a significant proportion of the Ednos group that they should be treated separately.