Failure to thrive
refers to a child's inability to gain weight and grow as expected. Most diagnoses
of failure to thrive are made in the first few years of life.
More to Know
Failure to thrive can be caused by a variety of medical conditions and social factors
ranging from gastrointestinal problems and metabolic
disorders to poor nutrition and emotional deprivation.
Infants or children who fail to thrive do not follow standard growth charts for
height, weight, and head circumference. In addition, their weight is lower than the
3rd percentile and 20% below the ideal weight for their height. Their personal growth
curve may slow down or stop altogether.
Undernourished kids can become constipated, disinterested in their surroundings,
irritable, and lethargic. They might not reach developmental milestones like sitting
up, walking, and talking at the usual age. Teenagers might not see the changes that
Failure to thrive is treated according to the cause. The primary goal of treatment
is usually to increase the number and quality of calories consumed.
Keep in Mind
When diagnosed and treated early, infants and children who are failing to thrive
can begin or continue to grow and develop normally.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical