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Children's Health

My Son is Underweight



My son is 21 months and is considered underweight.He has 8.3kg and 77 cm. How do we help him get interested in eating his food. Basically, I have followed every advice from doctors, books, other parents. He doesn`t even want to put it in his mouth, for us to even know if he likes it. Even if he eats, it is not a good amount. His intake of milk has also reduced, actually he`s taking Pediasure, and I add sour cream, butter in the meals to increase the calories.He has had tests which have come out normal. His other developmental milestones are fine. I would appreciate any help. Should I be so worried? Thanks.


Initially, kids with growth failure and food refusal should be evaluated to make sure there is no underlying medical condition such as acidosis that makes them refuse food. Failing to find an organic cause and, if the child is neurologically normal, I would consider a video swallowing study to be sure there is no swallowing problem and evaluation by a trained pediatric OT with experience with feeding disorders. This may help to identify any texture aversions or other difficulties. Some practitioners try periactin as an appetite stimulant which appears to enhance intake in up to 1/2 of kids with these disorders.

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Response by:

James E Heubi, MD James E Heubi, MD
Professor and Associate Chair of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati