Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: When it may be more than just picky eating.
Anyone who has ever tried to get an unwilling child to eat something that doesn’t taste, smell, look, or chew exactly the way they think it should knows just how difficult dealing with a picky eater can be.
In most instances, a limited menu is not a significant cause for concern. In serious cases, however, food aversion is more than just a strong preference for chicken nuggets and mac n’ cheese for every meal. If your child (of any age) refuses food based on its texture, color, smell, or appearance to such an extent that his or her nutrition, growth and development is affected, it could be Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).
If left untreated, ARFID may cause several health complications, including:
- Co-occurring anxiety disorders
- Developmental delays and learning disorders
- Failure to gain weight
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Social isolation
Knowing the difference between picky eating and ARFID can help you determine if it’s just a normal developmental phase or something that requires professional help.
Here’s a look at five key differences.
Serious food issues can have serious consequences for your child’s emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. The multidisciplinary team of eating experts at Providence is comprised of a wide range of specialists focused on helping children resolve the food challenges that are keeping them from reaching their full potential. Search for nutritionist in our regional directory or find a location near you:
Disordered eating vs. eating disorder—what’s the difference?
Kids and Picky Eating: Advice from a Mom & Pediatrician
When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder: It's Not About Supper, It's About Support
Walden Eating Disorders: ARFID
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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