The connection between exercise addiction and orthorexia nervosa in German fitness sports
The combination of physical activity and healthy eating habits has potentially positive effects on health. However, both practices can also lead to pathological behaviors such as exercise addiction (EA) and orthorexia nervosa (ON), thus generating negative effects. So far, studies analyzing the connection between these two phenomena cannot be found. The current paper is aiming to close this gap.
The sample (n = 1.008) consisted of 559 male and 449 female active members of three fitness studios, and was analyzed in a cross-sectional study design. The Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI) was used to establish exercise addiction and the Düsseldorfer Orthorexie Skala (DOS) was used to evaluate orthorectic eating behavior.
Out of the whole sample, 10.2% exhibit EA, while ON is prevalent in 3.4%. Twenty-three (2.3%) individuals suffer from both. There is a significant positive correlation between DOS and EAI (p < .001, r = .421). Female participants (p < .001, r = .452) show a higher correlation compared to male participants (p < .001, r = .418).
The results suggest a positive correlation between ON and EA in the context of German fitness sports. Both seem to be serious phenomena and require further investigation.
Level of evidence
Level V (cross-sectional descriptive study).
KeywordsOrthorexia nervosa Exercise addiction Fitness sport Düsseldorfer orthorexie skala Exercise addiction inventory
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.
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