Faltering growth

Failure to thrive is a term which is now a little outdated and the new term which is used is faltering growth. Faltering growth is defined as a child whose weight or height is falling across centiles in a downward direction. More recently thrive lines have been introduced which in conjunction with the red book in the first few years of life can dispel many of the myths of children who do or do not have growth problems.

Growth of course depends on the balance of calorie and protein intake and calorie and protein consumption and in broad terms poor weight gain or weight loss and then subsequently poor height gain (and in infants poor head circumference growth with attendant poor brain growth) can be due to either not enough calories and protein being consumed, or not enough of these nutrients being absorbed due to either problems with the small intestine absorption or in rarer cases pancreas and liver conditions, or lastly some disease which is turning over energy very quickly in the body such as cystic fibrosis, which is uncommon. The fourth component of growth is of course the hormonal mechanisms controlling growth and it is much less common to have a problem involving growth hormone or any of the other hormones such as thyroid hormone or the pituitary gland hormones which control energy and growth.

For those who are interested in finding out about children’s growth the Child Growth Foundation can be contacted at 2 Mayfield Avenue, London W4 1PW and provide excellent information along these lines.

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