BACKGROUND: Bigorexia or muscle dysmorphia (MD) is a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder, and it is characterized by an excessive dissatisfaction with body size and muscularity. Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is an obsessive focus on healthy eating and emotional distress related to food choices that are perceived as unhealthy. MD and ON are considered two emerging psychiatric disorders. METHODS: The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of traits of ON and MD between amateurs and professional athletes who practice bodybuilding. The secondary endpoint of the study is to identify the anabolic steroid abuse among the athletes. To this end we have administered a dichotomic questionnaire to 60 young men: 30 amateur bodybuilders (ABBs) and 30 professional bodybuilders (PBBs). RESULTS: Scores compatible with a full-blown MD disorder have been found in 100% of subjects of PBB group and in 83% of ABB group. Afull-blown ON has been detected in 87% of BBPs and 40% of BBAs and a risk for ON in 10% of BBPs and in 37% of BBAs. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows a high co-occurrence of MD and ON among the bodybuilders suggesting a link between eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorders.
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