The term ARFID (i.e. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) refers to people that either avoid eating certain food or restrict their food intake. In contrast to people with anorexia nervosa or bulimia, ARFID patients are not obsessed with their figure and physical exercise. Hence, they do not avoid/restrict certain food for fear of gaining weight, but for other psychological reasons (e.g. past trauma, taste preference and/or color preference).

ARFID and ‘picky eating habits’ are not the same thing. People going through this experience will feel distress if they have to eat the kind food they avoid where for someone who is picky this won’t lead to stress and distress. This eating disorder is mostly observed in children as early as 2 years old to young adolescent. Children with ARFID often struggle with nutritional deficiencies caused by the avoidance/restriction of certain food groups. People with ARFID are often younger than people with other eating disorders (11 years vs 14 years).

Recent studies demonstrated that young ARFID patients do not suffer from body dysmorphia, but struggle with anxiety disorders more than other patients with an eating disorder do. Unlike most eating disorder, young boys are more likely to struggle with ARFID than young girls, however adult women struggle more with ARFID than adult men do.