Objective: 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.
Method: 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.
Results: 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.
Discussion: 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.
Keywords: DSM-5; avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder; feeding disorder.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.