Some children who have endured a scary choking incident may suffer from what’s called Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. The disorder was recently reviewed in The New England Journal of Medicine and presents as a condition associated with weight loss due to eating difficulties following a choking incident.
The child basically fears having another choking episode. This leads to avoiding solid food, preferring or demanding only soft food or liquids such as milkshakes, puddings and oatmeal. Weight loss follows because the child also restricts the quantity consumed and receives inadequate calories.
This is a different condition than anorexia because its cause is the antecedent choking, but the result can be the same.
It seems that children who were “picky eaters” as toddlers are more prone to this condition if they choke. The condition is most commonly seen between the ages of 4 and 16.