Thursday, 20 August 2009

Orthorexia - no, me neither

Whilst looking for a piece about the recent doubling of wheat exports from the UK, I stumbled upon this article in The Telegraph about the rise of Orthorexia
The condition, which affects equal numbers of men and women, is described as a "fixation on righteous eating".

Experts says sufferers with the obsession for healthy eating tend to be aged over 30, and were middle-class and well-educated.

"I am definitely seeing significantly more orthorexics than just a few years ago," said Ursula Philpot, chair of the British Dietetic Association's mental health group.

Deanne Jade, founder of the National Centre for Eating Disorders, added: “There is a fine line between people who think they are taking care of themselves by manipulating their diet and those who have orthorexia.
Well, it was always a wee niggly thing at the back of my mind that some people take healthy eating a little too seriously. And apparently that's the very nature of the problem.
“I see people around me who have no idea they have this disorder. I see it in my practice and I see it among my friends and colleagues."

The condition, named by a Californian doctor, Steven Bratman, in 1997, involves rigid eating eating which includes not touching sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods.
The problem is that people aren't aware of a condition that was only named twelve years ago? Perhaps its not really a medical condition, just part of the human condition, some people are fussy eaters and some people aren't. I can see this blowing up into a huge campaign that the government have to 'do' something about.
The obsession can lead to some sufferers ending up malnourished, lead to pressures in personal relationships and make them become socially isolated.
Should any professionals actually be giving a shit about this?

By professional, I means someone who gets paid for what other people do for free. This is clearly a case for friends and family to take sufferers out for a decent kebab, and not a case for a new medical condition to be classified and campaigned about.

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