Definition of Feeding disorder of infancy and early childhood
A feeding disorder of infancy or early childhood is the failure of a young child to gain weight over time because he or she does not take in the proper amount of nutrients. However, no medical condition is causing the problem.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Feeding disorders are diagnosed when the infant or young child appears malnourished and the problem is not caused by a medical condition (such as , , or long-term lung disease), or a disorder that causes mental retardation.
Signs and tests
The child will be evaluated for any medical illness that could cause or contribute to the problem. Evaluation of the growth curves for height, weight, and head circumference is important in any evaluation of feeding or weight problems.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the following measures may be taken:
There is no quick cure for the majority of infants and children with feeding disorders. Most feeding disorders are mild and self-limited. A multidisciplinary approach involving pediatricians, outreach nurses, dietitians, social workers, behavior specialists, and parents is needed to improve the child’s well-being and nutritional status.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/2/2009