Orthorexia symptoms correlate with perceived muscularity and body fat, not BMI

  • Crystal D. Oberle
  • Shelby L. Lipschuetz
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Orthorexia Nervosa



This study explored how different body-type measures relate to orthorexia symptomatology.


Participants were 465 undergraduates, who completed an online survey with self-reported height and weight items, a muscularity figure rating scale, a body fat figure rating scale, and the Eating Habits Questionnaire (EHQ; Gleaves, Graham, & Ambwani, 2013).


BMI was not significantly related to any of the EHQ subscale scores. In contrast, muscularity rating was positively related to all EHQ subscale scores: Behaviors (p < .001), Problems (p = .014), and Feelings (p = .003). Additionally, body fat rating was negatively correlated with two EHQ subscale scores: Behaviors (p < .001) and Feelings (p = .008). None of these relationships varied as a function of gender.


These findings suggest that orthorexia symptomatology, while unrelated to BMI, is greater for individuals who perceive themselves as having a relatively muscular, lean body type.

Level of evidence

Level V, descriptive cross-sectional study.


Orthorexia BMI Muscularity Body fat Gender 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Texas State University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA

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