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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


GEMPELER RUEDA, Juanita; RODRIGUEZ GUARIN, Maritza; MUNOZ, Francisco  and  PEREZ MUNOZ, Verónica. Food Aversion during Childhood: Phobia, Obsessive or Non-Specified Eating Disorder?. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2008, vol.37, n.3, pp.355-364. ISSN 0034-7450.

Introduction: Food aversion can be an expression of the normal developmental process or a symptomatic expression of several clinical entities that generally appear during childhood. Its relation with an early ED appearance has not been well studied yet. Method: 15 clinical cases of patients between 7 and 21 years of age are described. They consulted with the Equilibrio outpatient program in Bogotá, Colombia, between September 2003 and February 2007, presenting aversion towards certain food, and high selectivity since very early ages. The anxiety produced by eating and the secondary somatic manifestations were the main psy-chopathological characteristics. Results: They were 8 men and 7 women. They all presented with phobic aversion towards certain food, textures, tastes and/or colors from a very early age. In 6 of them those characteristics were associated with intestinal complaints, while in 10 of them fear of gaining weight and body image distortion were present. 13 out of the 15 patients presented with obsessions or ritualized behaviors either related with food or not. We identified 6 cases of prepuberal Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and 4 with AN that appeared after menarche. One patient had a developmental disharmony (Asperger syndrome), and another one had child psychosis. Conclusions: Food phobic aversion during childhood could be considered as an early AN symptom, even if the explicit worry over weight and body image is not present, and somatic worries about gastric functions and or food aversion dominate. The obsessive-compulsive background was present in most of these patients with childhood ED. These symptoms can be present in other developmental childhood pathologies.

Keywords : Eating disorders; feeding and eating disorders of childhood; phobic disorders; obsessive-compulsive disorder; child development.

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