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Int J Eat Disord. 2014 Aug 20. doi: 10.1002/eat.22350. [Epub ahead of print]

Prevalence of DSM-5 avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder in a pediatric gastroenterology healthcare network.

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  • 1Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.



Few published studies have evaluated the clinical utility of new diagnostic criteria for avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), a DSM-5 reformulation of feeding and eating disorder of infancy or early childhood. We examined the prevalence of ARFID and inter-rater reliability of its diagnostic criteria in a pediatric gastrointestinal sample.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of 2,231 consecutive new referrals (ages 8-18 years) to 19 Boston-area pediatric gastroenterology clinics for evidence of DSM-5 ARFID.


We identified 33 (1.5%) ARFID cases; 22 of whom (67%) were male. Most were characterized by insufficient intake/little interest in feeding (n = 19) or limited diet due to sensory features of the food (n = 7). An additional 54 cases (2.4%) met one or more ARFID criteria but there was insufficient information in the medical record to confer or exclude the diagnosis. Diagnostic agreement between coders was adequate (κ = 0.72). Common challenges were (i) distinguishing between diagnoses of ARFID and anorexia nervosa or anxiety disorders; (ii) determination of whether the severity of the eating/feeding disturbance was sufficient to warrant diagnosis in the presence of another medical or psychiatric disorder; and (iii) assessment of psychosocial impairment related to eating/feeding problems.


In a pediatric treatment-seeking sample where ARFID features were common, cases meeting full criteria were rare, suggesting that the diagnosis is not over-inclusive even in a population where eating/feeding difficulties are expected. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, (Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2014).

Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


DSM-5; avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder; feeding disorder

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