Let's just get this out first — When you read the next paragraph, you will think "My kid is a picky eater too!" And that may be true for most kids in one way or another.

What Is ARFID?

ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) is a relatively recent addition to the list of eating disorders. Children impacted by ARFID have extreme sensitivity in their eating habits, sometimes showing little to no interest in food. Their daily diet will typically consist of a very small list of foods, which can lead to issues such as stunted growth and poor nutrition.

ARFID is not connected in any way to body image.

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Who Are Hannah Lea and Her Mother (@myarfidlife)?

Hannah Lea, an 8-year-old girl, along with her mother Michelle (who manages their wildly popular @MyARFIDLife Instagram account with over 1.5 million followers), is sharing their journey following her diagnosis with ARFID.

Hannah Lea and Mother Michelle Chronicle Gir's Jounrney Through Life With ARFID
Photo Illustration by TSM/@myarfidlife (Instagram)

Most of the posts on Hannah's account show her trying new foods (as recommended by her therapist) to broaden her list of preferred options thereby increasing her caloric intake and nutrition.

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This sounds pretty straightforward, but Hannah also provides (with her mother's help) a pretty detailed list of reasons that specific foods are not (or no longer) on her "safe food list" and on her "fear food list", ranging from being able to tell by sight if a grape will be mushy to not liking a different kind of rice cakes because they are too crunchy and "taste like popcorn with no butter."

In one video Hannah Lea tries Cotton Candy Grapes (I'm not a fan) for the first time and notes that purple grapes are her favorite and this variety doesn't smell great (it's true) and their juiciness made her gag a bit. She gave them a 6.9 out of 10.

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In another video, Hannah Lea takes a viewer recommendation (something she often does) and tries yogurt-covered raisins:

I don’t really like yogurt so I dont know what to expect. Yogurt is way too wet. They smell like vanilla cake. They look kind of like pills and I didn’t like that. These were way too mushy and taste like frosting.

These did not fare as well at 4 out of 10.

Hannah Lea Tries Each Food Three Times

It's important to note that Hannah is being coached by her therapist to try (or retry) foods with at least three bites or sips. I don't think I've seen one of Hannah's videos where she does not complete this challenge, and I know adults without this disorder who would not try a new food three times in one sitting, so nice going, Hannah Lea.

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