Children may be diagnosed with failure to thrive, or growth delay, when their weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below the average for their age and gender.
Growth during the initial stages of life is very quick; however in some cases infants and children don’t meet the expected growth rate due to an underlying medical problem or feeding condition. Many infants may eventually catch up to their normal growth potential, but those that don’t may be diagnosed with failure to thrive (FTT).
FTT, or growth delay during childhood, is the result of undernutrition, which may be caused by a number of potential diseases or conditions. Congenital abnormalities, neurological problems, infections or low birth weight, as well as environmental factors such as poor eating habits or domestic issues are some examples that can affect FTT.
Providing adequate nutrition is as important as treating the underlying problem itself. Delivering the appropriate levels of nutrients as early as possible can lead to better physical and mental development of the child. In many cases, a nutrient dense diet is recommended so that children can catch up on their growth and weight gain. In infants, this might be achieved by breastfeeding more frequently; in bottle-fed infants or older children, other techniques or specialized formulas may be required.
At Nestlé Health Science, we are committed to providing infants and children with growth problems with tailor-made nutritional options to help them meet their nutritional needs in order to grow and develop normally.