Is My Child Too Skinny? Advice on When to Be Concerned – MedicineNet

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News Picture: Is My Child Too Skinny? Advice on When to Be Concerned By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News)

While childhood obesity gets a lot of attention, some kids struggle with the opposite issue — they have trouble gaining weight.

So , how can parents know if their child is “too skinny? ”

While the best resource is likely a child’s pediatrician, experts have also weighed in upon the topic.

“Underlying health conditions can result in children and adolescents being underweight. Additionally, underweight can indicate malnutrition, ” the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted in a recent study about the prevalence of underweight kids in the United States.

Just over 4% of children and children aged 2 to 19 were underweight in the United States in 2018, according to the research.

To help figure out if your child is too skinny, here’s what to know.

Children are considered underweight when their body mass index (BMI) is below the 5 th percentile for their age and gender on growth charts, based on the CDC study.

If the child will be underweight, the particular pediatrician may ask more about medical history or could order testing to check for undiscovered health issues, Dr. Gary Kirkilas, a general pediatrician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, explained within a recent American Academy of Pediatrics article.

“Children below the 5th percentile could have a nutritional shortfall — either not taking in enough calories or burning up a lot more calories than they are getting, or both, ” Kirkilas said. “There are also medical conditions plus medications that can cause children to gain or lose weight more easily. Most kids have multiple contributing factors to their body weight. ”

Warning signs

Parents can watch for several signs that their child might be underweight, pediatric registered dietitian Jennifer Hyland said in a recent Cleveland Clinic article.

Signs that will a child may be underweight include declining on the development chart at annual pediatric visits.

Other concerns would be that they’re not outgrowing clothes each season. Their ribs may also stick out, Hyland added.

Your child’s doctor has been recording your infant’s weight and height over time, according to Nemours Children’s Health . The doctor can look at a full array of clinical information when evaluating your child’s bodyweight, including health, physical activity, eating habits plus family health background.

It’s possible that kids in that 5th percentile range could be short on nutrients — either not eating enough or even burning more than they may eating, the particular AAP stated.

Health issues that may cause a kid to become underweight consist of food allergies , hormonal or digestive problems or medications, such as those used to treat attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD ), according in order to the Cleveland Clinic story.

Hectic sports schedules with regard to older children may also contribute to being underweight.

And diet also makes a difference: In a current study in the journal Pediatrics on meat-free diets, vegetarian children were about twice as likely to be underweight, though 94% of the 9, 000 kids in the study were not really underweight.

It may furthermore simply end up being that your child is a picky eater, according to the particular Cleveland Clinic.

This is a lot more of the trait than a phase, based on a latest study published within the journal Pediatrics .

While 29% of the 300 kids within that research ate all foods offered, about 14% were regarded as picky. None of the kids in this particular study had been underweight.

Still, “it can be very stressful regarding parents in order to deal along with a picky eater, inch senior researcher Dr . Megan Pesch, a pediatrician in the University of Michigan’s C. S. Mott Little one’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, said at the time.

Simple exposure to different foods could help, Pesch suggested.

Gaining weight

Hyland advised against consuming in front of electronics, excessive snacking or using fruit juices and protein powders to encourage weight gain .

Instead, she suggested adding olive oil or other healthy oils and nut butters.

For anyone aged 2 and up, a healthy meal pattern will include the variety associated with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, protein food items and natural oils, according to the CDC, which also noted that “empty calories” make up about 40% of children’s diets. Sodas and desserts were among the big offenders.

How can you help slim kids obtain weight in a healthy way?


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Keep meals and snacks nutrient-rich, recommended the School of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Good proteins sources also include eggs, bean soups plus hummus, based on the academy. Add avocado slices to burgers and salads. Smoothies may boost calories and be loaded with nutrition.

“If your child is getting enough calorie consumption but still does not seem to become gaining weight appropriately, continue to work with [your] doctor to discover any underlying conditions, ” the academy noted. “Chances are good, though, that will with some patience and conscientious meal and snack plans, your child will strike a healthy height and bodyweight balance. ”

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