What are the facts about ARFID?

In addition to understanding the symptomscauseshealth risks and treatment options for avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), it’s also important to understand the facts and statistics.


  • ARFID is more common in children and young adolescents and less common in late adolescence and adulthood.1
  • ARFID is often associated with psychiatric co-morbidity, especially with anxious and obsessive compulsive features.1
  • ARFID is more than just “picky eating;” children do not grow out of it and often become malnourished because of the limited variety of foods they will eat.2
  • The true prevalence of ARFID is still being studied, but preliminary estimates suggest it may affect as many as 5 percent of children.2
  • Boys may have a higher risk for ARFID than girls.2
  • 63 percent of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists were unfamiliar with the diagnosis of ARFID
  1. ARFID: Some new twists and some old themes. Ovidio Bermudez, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, FAED, F.iaedp, CEDS. (2016)
  2. Norris, M. L., Spettigue, W., & Katzman, D. K. (2016). Update on eating disorders: current perspectives on avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder in children and youth. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12, 213-218.
  3. Canadian Pediatric Surveillance Program

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