Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and Body Image: a case report

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.


Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a relatively new eating disorder diagnosis, and there is need to better understand this disorder's presentation. Diagnostic criteria for ARFID require that there are no body image distortions. People with ARFID symptoms may have body image concerns that require careful consideration and more information about the interplay of these is needed to help clinicians appropriately diagnose and manage ARFID.

Case presentation

This clinical observation reports a case of ARFID in a nine-year-old with severe malnutrition who positively views her small size and values thinness. The patient reported that her own desire for thinness was influenced by social media beauty ideals and praise of thinness witnessed in social situations. Despite this, the motivation for avoidant and restrictive eating behaviors was low appetitive drive, fear of trying new foods, and fear of adverse consequences from eating.


Although concerning, the patient's body image was not of clinical significance as a motivating factor for the disordered eating behaviors. Body image dissatisfaction is common. The requirement to exclude body image distortions in the diagnostic criteria for ARFID may require consideration of the pervasiveness of societal body ideals to which young people are exposed.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item