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Alternative namesGrowth - slow (child 0-5 years); Weight gain - slow (child 0-5 years); Slow rate of growth; Retarded growth and development
DefinitionDelayed growth involves poor or abnormally slow gain in weight or height, or both, in a child younger than 5 years old.
Delayed or slower than expected growth can be caused by many conditions, most of which can be corrected if the problem is recognized and the intervention is timely. Failure to thrive may be accompanied by withdrawn personality and slow mental, physical, and emotional development. Genetic diseases and chronic illness are less common causes of failure to thrive in the U.S. Social and educational causes for failure to thrive are more common.
Often, problems with infants can be prevented or modified with parental education. Expectant parents should arrange for parenting classes. Also, a child should be taken in to see the health care provider on a regular basis for well-baby checkups.
See the following for more information:
The term " failure to thrive " means only that an infant or young child is not growing and developing as expected. Failure to thrive is often divided into two main categories: psychosocial and organic .
Psychosocial causes include problems relating to poverty, educational level, malnourishment, and environmental factors (such as abuse or neglect, maternal depression, or a parent's substance abuse). Psychosocial causes for failure to thrive include the following:
Follow the health care provider's instructions for care. The necessary treatment and home care is as varied as the number of reasons for failure to thrive.
For slow weight gain in a child caused by malnourishment, try feeding the child on demand and increasing the sucking time. Also, prepare formula exactly according to directions. Do not dilute ready-to-feed formula, and try increasing the amount offered to the child.
Provide as much love and support as possible for the child no matter what the diagnosis. Examine feelings and behavior toward the child. If feelings toward the child are not what they should be, arrange for psychological counseling.
Call your health care provider if
A thorough history will be obtained from the parents, and a physical examination of the child will be performed.
Medical history questions documenting delayed growth in detail may include:
There may also be questions about parenting habits, social interaction with the child, and similar questions.
Repeated measurements of height, weight, and head circumference will be performed.
The number of possible tests for failure to thrive is large, but usually only a few are necessary. The tests actually done will be determined by the diagnosis the physician is considering. Some of the more common tests are listed below:
Update Date: 5/21/2003Elizabeth Hait, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT