Testing & Diagnosis for Slow Weight Gain in Infants and Children in Children

Assessing your child’s weight gain

Physicians can gain the most information about why your child is gaining weight slowly through a combination of:

  • Physical examination
  • Medical, family, and dietary history
  • Review of your child’s pattern of weight gain in relation to the standard growth curves

The Growth and Nutrition team will use this information to determine whether your child’s pattern of growth is of concern and to identify any contributing factors that may be impeding your child’s weight gain. For some children, this information may show that they are actually gaining weight appropriately.

There are also some basic laboratory screening tests our team may request (e.g., a blood count, lead test, screening studies for celiac disease, thyroid hormones, serum electrolytes, urinalysis) that can provide insights into potential medical causes. We may order additional tests, such as a bone age or a barium swallow test as suggested by your child’s history and physical examination.

Other members of our multispecialty team are likely to be included in your child’s assessment so that we can draw the most complete picture of the factors contributing to your child’s slow weight gain. For example, almost all children seen in the Growth and Nutrition Program will see a dietitian who will assess caloric intake. A speech pathologist may determine if your child has any difficulties with chewing or swallowing, and a behavioral psychologist may assess your child’s feeding environment and behaviors related to eating.