Washington: Consuming healthy food is a good practice, till the time it turns into an obsession because then it becomes physically and socially impairing. According to a recent study, those who have a history of an eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive traits, dieting, poor body image, and a drive for thinness are more likely to develop a pathological obsession with healthy eating or consuming only healthy food, known as orthorexia nervosa (ON).

In the first exhaustive review of the psychosocial risk factors associated with orthorexia nervosa, York University psychology researchers examined all studies published up until the end of 2018 in two popular databases. They looked at studies that examined how orthorexia nervosa is related to psychosocial risk factors that predisposed or made an individual vulnerable to or more likely to develop the condition.

They then amalgamated all available findings for each risk factor to reach conclusions about which psychosocial factors were most reliably associated with the condition. “The long-term impact of these findings is that they will lead to better recognition among healthcare providers as well as members of the public that so-called healthy eating can, in fact, be unhealthy.

It can lead to malnourishment or make it very difficult to socialise with people in settings that involve eating. It can also be expensive and time-consuming,” said Jennifer Mills, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and senior author on the study.