Failure to Thrive: Malnutrition in Children

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Failure to thrive refers to children whose current weight or rate of weight gain is significantly lower than that of other children of similar age and gender. The difficulty lies in knowing what rate of growth is expected for any individual child, since many factors, including race and genetics, may influence growth. Failure to thrive is believed to affect up to 5 percent of the population but is most common in the first six months of a child's life. It is commonly seen in babies born prematurely. Most diagnoses of failure to thrive are made in infants and toddlers in the first few years of life. An estimated 10 percent of children seen in primary care settings have symptoms of failure to thrive. The condition can appear in all socioeconomic groups, although it is seen more frequently in those families experiencing poverty. It is important to remember that some children will normally fall below the standards on growth charts. If children are full of energy, interacting normally with their parents, and show no signs of illness, then they are probably not failing to thrive and are just smaller children. (Bremmer & Gavin, 2004, pp. 76-93).

Failure to Thrive
The first few years of a child’s life is crucial, this is the time when most children gain weight and grow much more rapidly than they will later on in life. Sometimes, however, babies and children do not meet the expected standards of growth, although most of these children are merely following a variation of the normal patterns and are not at risk, some children are actually considered to have "failure to thrive". Failure to thrive is defined as decelerated or arrested physical growth, that is height and weight measurements fall below the (5th) fifth percentile. It is usually associated with poor developmental and emotional functioning. (Krugman & Dubowitz, 2003, pp. 879-884) Failure to thrive is typically differentiated into two groups, organic and non-organic. Organic failure to thrive...
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