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Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder symptoms are not as frequent as other eating disorder symptoms when ulcerative colitis is in remission.

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Recent studies have shown that up to 53% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) screen positive for avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). There is however concern that ARFID screening rates are over-inflated in patients with active disease. We aimed to evaluate the frequency and characteristics of ARFID symptoms using the Nine Item ARFID Screen (NIAS), and to use another eating disorder measure, the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire 8 (EDE-Q8), to rule-out/characterize other eating disorder cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

METHODS: Participants included adults with UC who are enrolled in an in an ongoing cohort study with quiescent UC (SCCAI ≤2 or fecal calprotectin <150 µg/g with corticosteroid-free clinical remission for ≥ 3 months) at baseline. We used self-reported data on demographics, gastrointestinal medications, medical comorbidities, NIAS scores, and other eating disorder symptom scores (8-item Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire; EDE-Q-8).

RESULTS: We included 101 participants who completed the NIAS at their baseline cohort assessment (age 49.9±16.5 years; 55% female). Eleven participants (11%) screened positively for ARFID on at least one NIAS subscale (n=8 male). Up to thirty participants (30%) screened positive for other eating disorder symptoms (EDE-Q-8 Global ≥2.3). Overall score distributions on the EDE-Q-8 showed that participants scored highest on the Weight Concern and Shape Concern subscales.

CONCLUSIONS: Among adults with UC in remission, we found a low rate of ARFID symptoms by the NIAS but a high rate of positive screens for other eating disorder symptoms.

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