Growth Concerns in Young Children
Normal growth is one of the best indicators of a child’s overall health and wellbeing. “Growth faltering” refers to a pattern of slower weight gain than is expected for a child’s age and gender, or a failure to grow at a normal rate that is comparable to the child’s peers. The most common cause of poor growth is inadequate intake of energy, protein, and micronutrients, which can result from disease- or non-disease-related factors. Energy and protein are critical for catch-up growth, which must take a child’s baseline requirements into account, as well as the additional calories and protein they need for new tissue synthesis. Initiating nutritional assessment and treatment early in young children with growth concerns is critical to preventing adverse consequences.