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Pediatric Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

What is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)?

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is characterized by extreme patterns of avoiding and restricting eating, due to:

  1. Sensory/texture sensitivities
  2. Concern about gastrointestinal discomfort
  3. Lack of appetite or interest in eating

It’s important to note that ARFID is different from other eating and feeding disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa. Children with ARFID do not avoid or restrict eating due to body image concerns or a desire to lose weight. This program is designed to treat youth whose ARFID symptoms are primarily caused by a concern about gastrointestinal discomfort.

Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI) are disorders related to the gut-brain connection not working properly. Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, functional heartburn, rumination syndrome, and functional abdominal pain. ARFID symptoms are common in children with DGBIs, as symptoms of a gastrointestinal condition make it challenging for them to eat. The Pediatric ARFID Program evaluates and treats ARFID symptoms in children with Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBIs). Early detection and treatment of symptoms can improve a child’s quality of life and reduce the need for unnecessary testing and intervention.

What are signs of Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI)?

Children and adolescents with DGBIs will commonly report difficulties eating due to a fear of causing GI discomfort. Common symptoms of ARFID include:

  • Avoidant, restrictive eating due to fears of GI discomfort, choking, or vomiting
  • Unintentional weight loss due to avoidant, restrictive eating patterns
  • Loss of appetite due to shift in eating patterns
  • Lack of interest in eating


The team of specialists at the Pediatric ARFID Program work together to treat your child’s ARFID symptoms with the understanding of their GI concerns. Your family will attend an initial evaluation with our team of specialists. Together they will develop an individualized treatment plan based on your child’s needs. Our team has advanced training and include the following specialists:

  • Pediatric gastroenterologist specializing in neurogastroenterology and motility
  • Pediatric gastroenterology psychologist
  • Pediatric gastroenterology dietitian
  • Pediatric gastroenterology social worker
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