Prevalence of Orthorexia Traits and Nutrition Knowledge: Is There a Link?

Anna Krinki, Phame M Camarena, Chin-I Cheng, Najat Yehia

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


Background: Nutrition education is an important aspect of health promotion intended to enhance one's knowledge about nutrition and food, so informed decisions on the selection of healthier food choices can be made. However, it is not clear whether such an attempt to enhance one's knowledge about proper nutrition can lead to an unhealthy obsession with food. This study aimed to examine whether increasing students' knowledge about diet and nutrition is associated with the prevalence of orthorexia nervous (ON) in a sample of college students.<br>Methods: A cross-sectional study of 304 college students (83% female), aged between 18-25 years, was conducted in spring 2019. Participants completed an online survey assessing their nutritional knowledge and their tendencies towards orthorexia Nervosa (ORTO-15 test with < 40 being the cutoff) behaviors. Two sample t-test, Chi-square test, and multiple logistic regression were used for statistical analyses.<br>Results: Results indicated that there was no significant differences in the nutrition scores between students who scored below 40 or above on the ORTO-15 test. However, year in school and major of study were associated with nutrition knowledge. Higher nutrition scores were observed among students who were seniors (p=0.007) and majoring in sciences (p=0.005).<br>Conclusions: Overall, in this pilot study, the prevalence of ON traits was not associated with higher nutrition knowledge among our students. However, students who were majoring in sciences and senior had higher nutrition knowledge compared to other students. Future studies are needed to identify factors that may trigger orthorexic behaviors among students.<br><br>
Original languageEnglish
PublisherObesity Society’s annual scientific meeting
StatePublished - Nov 2019


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