Exploring the association of body mass index, mindful and emotional eating to orthorexia
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Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Michail Mantzios   

Birmingham City University
Submission date: 2022-03-25
Final revision date: 2022-08-04
Acceptance date: 2022-09-09
Online publication date: 2022-10-24
Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is defined as a fixation on healthy eating behaviours. Research exploring ON and body mass index (BMI) has been inconsistent, with some findings indicating a positive relationship between ON and BMI, while other studies have suggested no relationship. To date, potential associations with emotional and mindful eating have been explored only in a vegan population. The present research adopted an exploratory approach and examined the relationship between or-thorexia and BMI, and possible associations with emotional and mindful eating. The potential predictive value of mindful and emotional eating with respect to ON was also explored, while the role of four different types of emotional eating (happi-ness, sadness, anger, anxiety), utilising an emotional eating scale incorporating positive and negative emotions, was further explored.

Participants and procedure:
Two hundred and twenty-three participants completed the online survey that was distributed via social media to a British sample.

The findings suggested a negative correlation between ON and BMI. Participants who presented higher levels of orthorexia were more likely to display higher levels of focused eating, a central aspect of mindful eating, as well as lower levels of emo-tional eating in response to happiness – two elements that further predicted ON in multiple regression models.

The results suggest a need to conduct further research to explore the possible role of happiness as a potential protective tool against ON, and further suggest the likely negative role of some components of mindful eating in ON. Future directions are discussed in light of the present findings.