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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


MARQUEZ, Sara  and  VEGA, Ricardo de la. Exercise addiction: an emergent behavioral disorder. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2015, vol.31, n.6, pp.2384-2391. ISSN 1699-5198.

Background: regular physical activity plays a relevant role in health maintenance and disease prevention. However, excess exercise may generate adverse effects both on physical and mental activity. Aims: to provide a state-of-the-art overview on exercise addiction, considering its concept, symptoms, diagnosis, epidemiological aspects, etiological factors, and potential interventions. Methods: articles related to the topic were reviewed through Pubmed, Sportdiscus, PsycINFO, Scopus and Web of Science databases, using combinations of the following keywords: "exercise", "addiction" and "dependence". Results: regular exercise taken into excess may result in adverse health consequences and quality of life impairment. Diagnosis of exercise addiction requires the employment of questionnaires such as the Exercise Dependence Scale (EDS) and the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI). These instruments have allowed the estimation of a 3% prevalence among exercise practitioners. Proposed hypotheses to explain the etiology of this disorder include both physiological and psychological mechanisms. Treatment is based on the cognitive-behavioral approach, but effectiveness needs to be evaluated. Conclusions: although different hypotheses have been proposed to explain exercise dependence, integrative models are still necessary. A clinical validation of diagnostic instruments and a deepening into the relationship with behavioral eating disorders are also required.

Keywords : Exercise addiction; Exercise dependence; Diagnosis; Prevalence; Etiology.

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