Boy Goes Blind From Junk Food

‪Did anyone catch this on the news this week about the 17 year-old boy that lost his sight through a junk food diet? I feel it was a very bad piece of journalism and totally misleading. A lot of the media linked it to fussy eating when in actual fact, the boy had an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) which is not about fussy eating, it is far more complex than that. This disorder is relatively unknown in the UK.‬

‪For the parents out there with kids who have a restricted diet that may be concerned thinking their child could end up like this, I am told this is such an extreme case and there has to be more to it than what is reported and not just food related. The last thing parents want to read is extreme cases like this when we are already concerned, especially when it has been misreported!‬

I have some experience of ARFID as my son was diagnosed with it when he was around 3 years old. I would say he is relatively unaffected by it now, as we got the right help early on (not that this boy didn’t, clearly his case is more severe) but there is no doubt in my mind that we would be in all sorts of problems if we hadn’t. ‬

‪My son still has strong aversions to certain food and gags very easily to smells, but it is not an issue in our house and never really has been as we know how to handle it in a calm and supportive way and I am proud to say he is a happy little eater!‬

So, from one parent to another, if you feel your child is ‘simply’ 🙈 a ‘picky’ eater but eats a relatively varied diet, just keep going and please read my practical posts on this page. If you instinctively feel there is more to it than that, then see your GP and get the right support. Even if you don’t feel your child has something as severe as ARFID, it could be worth getting your child weighed and checked over for peace of mind.‬

Just to add a final point, one of my main concerns as a parent (and I’m sure for many here) is that our children are not getting enough nutrients into them. I was reassured by my paediatric dietician that whilst it may seem our children aren’t eating enough of the ‘right’ foods, it’s surprising how they still manage to thrive and grow.‬

It is good to remind ourselves that not all nutrients come just from those elusive veggies 😉; vitamins can be found in milk (vitamins A, C and B12 for example), potatoes (vitamin C), cereals and even fish fingers!‬

french fries ARFID.jpg
Grace Willis