Averse to certain foods? Beware, you could be suffering from ARFID!
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Rachel Dammala
HYDERABAD: Are you or your child repulsed by certain staple foods? If yes, then you could be suffering from ARFID - Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. On the occasion of ‘Eating disorders awareness week’, doctors from the city talk about this condition that is common but remains unknown.
In just two and a half years, Dr Anjum Dayal, senior consultant pediatric intensivist at Ankura Hospital, has seen close to 200 patients with the condition, which is now growing.
ARFID is a behaviour disorder characterised by failing to meet minimum daily nutrition requirements due to various reasons including disinterest in food and avoiding certain sensory characteristics.
ARFID is mostly seen in children aged around four to five years. Some of them disappear by the ages of 15-18, says Dr. Dayal, adding that unlike anorexia, which is commonly seen among girls, this disorder is more common among boys.
"It is not to be confused with anorexia or other eating disorders where people avoid food because of the fear of gaining weight," said Dr Rahul Dubbaka, consultant gastroenterologist at Care Hospitals, Banjara Hills. However, the disorder can result in significant weight loss or failure to gain weight in childhood, as well as nutritional deficiencies that can cause health problems, he said.
"The symptoms must be taken seriously. From my own experiences, I can say that it is more common in affluent communities than the middle class," Dr Dayal said.
They said that the commonly avoided foods include curd, cream-based foods, leafy greens and crunchy vegetables. They advise behaviour therapy, which is the ‘most potent’ remedial measure.