Slow Weight Gain in Infants and Children| Diagnosis & Treatment

How is slow weight gain diagnosed?

Since slow weight gain is not a specific condition but the result of other factors, your child’s doctor will focus on discovering the underlying cause. Diagnosis typically starts with a full medical history and physical exam. The doctor will also review your child’s pattern of weight gain in relation to the standard growth curves.

Screening tests may include a blood count, screening studies for celiac disease, thyroid hormones, serum electrolytes and urinalysis.

How is slow weight gain treated?

Treatment depends on what is preventing a child from gaining weight. If the cause is an underlying medical condition, your child’s doctor may focus on treating that condition.

If poor nutrition is contributing to your child’s slow weight gain, a nutritionist may work with you to develop a plan for providing your child a well-balanced diet.

If your child has trouble chewing or swallowing, a speech pathologist will provide strategies to develop the necessary muscles.

If your child seems healthy but refuses to eat, a behavioral psychologist may be able to help your child and you work through issues that lead to this behavior.

Depending on your child’s age and underlying medical condition, more aggressive forms of nutritional support, such as a feeding tube may be necessary. This intervention may be temporary until your child develops healthy eating habits that support their growth and development.