Treating Malnourished Children
Fortunately, many of the harmful effects of malnutrition can be reversed, especially if a child is only mildly or briefly malnourished.
If you think your child isn't getting enough of the right nutrients, talk to your doctor, who may perform a physical exam and ask about the types and amounts of food your child eats. The doctor may also:
- measure height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) to see if they're within a healthy range for your child's age
- check for underlying conditions that could cause malnutrition
- order blood tests to check for nutritional deficiencies
- order additional tests based on your child's medical history and physical exam
Treatment for malnutrition depends on its cause. A doctor or dietitian might recommend specific changes in the types and quantities of foods your child eats, and may prescribe dietary supplements, such as vitamins and minerals.
If there's an underlying problem causing the malnutrition, the doctor will help you find ways to ensure your child gets the necessary nutrients.
Can a Picky Eater Become Malnourished?
Parents often worry that kids who seem to live on peanut butter sandwiches or hide at the sight of vegetables might not eat enough to stay healthy. Few kids in the United States and other developed nations experience severe malnutrition like that seen in Third World countries. Even finicky eaters usually get adequate calories and nutrients.
The best way for parents to ensure that kids are properly nourished is to serve a variety of healthy foods and limit unhealthy snacks. If you're concerned that your child's energy level is lagging or that he or she isn't growing normally, share your concerns with your doctor.
Share this article