The terms ‘slow weight gain’, ‘poor growth’ and ‘faltering growth/failure to thrive’ are used interchangeably to describe deviations from expected growth patterns in children. It should be noted expected weight gain is not the same as minimal acceptable growth; a paediatrician can help you understand if your child’s pattern of growth is normal or requires further investigation.
The list of potential causes for poor growth is long and a general paediatrician plays a vital role in differentiating between them. Inadequate intake due to a variety of causes is the commonest reason for slow weight gain. In these cases referral to an expert in child feeding can be very helpful in resolving the problem.
If inadequate intake is not the cause of poor growth then other conditions will need to be considered, including: allergy; coeliac disease; heart and lung conditions and more rarely endocrine and metabolic problems.
Concern about linear growth, or height, is also a common reason for presentation to a paediatrician. How fast a child gains height depends on heredity, gender and environmental factors, such as nutrition. Serial measurement of height over a period of time is required to determine if there is a problem in linear growth in children.
The following practitioners at CPMG can be of service in helping assess growth concerns in infants, children and adolescents: