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Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology




Background & Aims
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients alter their dietary behaviors to reduce disease-related symptoms, avoid feared food triggers, and control inflammation. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), evaluate risk factors, and examine the association with risk of malnutrition in patients with IBD.
This cross-sectional study recruited adult patients with IBD from an ambulatory clinic. ARFID risk was measured using the Nine-Item ARFID Screen. Nutritional risk was measured with the Patient Generated-Subjective Global Assessment. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between clinical characteristics and a positive ARFID risk screen. Patient demographics, disease characteristics, and medical history were abstracted from medical records.
Of the 161 participants (Crohn’s disease, 45.3%; ulcerative colitis, 51.6%; IBD-unclassified, 3.1%), 28 (17%) had a positive ARFID risk score (≥24). Most participants (92%) reported avoiding 1 or more foods while having active symptoms, and 74% continued to avoid 1 or more foods even in the absence of symptoms. Active symptoms (odds ratio, 5.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.91–15.01) and inflammation (odds ratio, 3.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.06–10.29) were significantly associated with positive ARFID risk. Patients with a positive ARFID risk screen were significantly more likely to be at risk for malnutrition (60.7% vs 15.8%; P < .01).
Avoidant eating behaviors are common in IBD patients, even when in clinical remission. Patients who exhibit active symptoms and/or inflammation should be screened for ARFID risk, with referrals to registered dietitians to help monitor and address disordered eating behaviors and malnutrition risk.


Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging