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Orthorexia Nervosa: What You Need to Know to Safeguard Your Athletes

From the latest diet trends to never-ending image-obsessed social media feeds, raising young children and adolescents who have healthy relationships with food has become increasingly difficult in today’s body-image-sensitive society.

Orthorexia Nervosa (ON) is a relatively new psychological eating disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with eating pure, healthy foods to improve wellness. This disorder describes a person’s pattern of eating characterized by a pathological fixation on restricting foods based on their perceived health. ON is also thought to be more prevalent in athletes, with findings suggesting that student-athletes who train more have a higher risk of developing ON symptoms.

Since it is normal to see athletes maintaining a more controlled diet in order to enhance their performance, identifying ON may be harder to detect in athletes. Here’s what parents and coaches need to know to help athletes develop a positive relationship with food and grow confidence in their decision-making when it comes to practicing healthy eating habits daily.

The Dangers of Orthorexia Nervosa

Although eating well as an athlete is key to fueling for sustained energy throughout practice and competition, too much of a good thing can quickly become physically and mentally harmful.

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Nutrition Coach, Parent TrueSport