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Excercise and healthy food habits cause anxiety

Health obsessions on the rise

Published fredag 10 augusti 2012 kl 11.01
Obsessive excercise and dieting are on the rise in Sweden.Photo: Maja Suslin/Scanpix.

An increasing number of psychological problems reported in Sweden are cases of "health mania", and center around compulsions to excercise and eat healthy food.

Orthodexia is the phenomenon describing people who compulsively exercise and eat controlled amounts of healthy food, and feel anxious if they fail to do so.

However, it is not a diagnosable eating disorder in Sweden, and it is therefore difficult to know how many people suffer from it, reports Swedish Radio.

Hanna Kihlander at the eating disorders support group Anorexi- och bulimikontakt says that the number of phone calls they receive regarding anxiety over excercise has increased recently.

"The problems are more and more regarding the combination of food and excercise", she told Swedish Radio.

Yvonne Lin at the Stockholm centre for eating disorders says that as the condition cannot yet be officially diagnosed, they do not have statistics on the group of people affected.

However, she told Swedish Radio that while eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia affect mostly women, orthodexia affects both men and women equally.

Lin said she thinks it is only a matter of time before orthodexia is recognized as a diagnosis in Sweden.

"The psychological effects are just as bad as for other eating disorders", she said.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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