Failure to thrive interventions

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Failure to thrive Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Failure to thrive from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Diagnostic Study of Choice

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings



Echocardiography and Ultrasound

CT scan


Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy



Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

Case Studies

Case #1

Failure to thrive interventions On the Web

Most recent articles

Most cited articles

Review articles

CME Programs

Powerpoint slides


American Roentgen Ray Society Images of Failure to thrive interventions

All Images
Echo & Ultrasound
CT Images

Ongoing Trials at Clinical

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse

NICE Guidance

FDA on Failure to thrive interventions

CDC on Failure to thrive interventions

Failure to thrive interventions in the news

Blogs on Failure to thrive interventions

Directions to Hospitals Treating Psoriasis

Risk calculators and risk factors for Failure to thrive interventions

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Akash Daswaney, M.B.B.S[2]


Nutritional interventions such as regular breastfeeding, eating with the child, measuring the caloric requirement of the child or ensuring the child eats with an upright posture should be added to psychological interventions like parent education and maintaining a discord free family environment.


Psychological Interventions (Patient and Parents) [1]

  • It is important to handle parents when certain inadequacies may be revealed and shift their focus on enhancing their relationship with their child and showing concern for their child’s health. This relationship is the long-term foundation of a successful treatment.
  • In addition to intensive hyperalimentation, a concurrent dose of emotional support and developmental stimulation must be given daily.
  • Child life workers and volunteer ‘grandmothers’ provide this support through cuddling and support programs individualized to the patients needs.
  • As the child’s dependency begins to diminish and sensorium improves, parent integrated developmental stimulation and play drills should be done daily.
  • This helps intensify a feeling of adequacy in parents. Active participation from the parents’ side can be ‘rewarded’ by a sensitive hospital staff by giving them most of the credit. This increases their self- esteem and improves their relationship with their child.
  • Sleep disorders should be identified and treated as they contribute to decreased activity, decreased appetite and poor growth.
  • Parents should receive age appropriate nutritional and sick care handling counsel.
  • Social workers may arrange for home nursing visits and provide provisions such as nutritious foods to families who are not affording, who lack transportation or cannot get time off work.

Nutritional Interventions "Failure to Thrive: A Practical Guide - American Family Physician".

  • Nutritional rehabilitation facilitates a period of ‘catch up growth’ and aims to achieve ideal growth velocity, weight for height and body composition.
  • It is important to start with small feeds. [2]
  • Depending on whether the child can be fed orally or not, nasogastric feeding (short-term) and gastrotomy tubes (long-term) may be used. Enteral feedings are preferred over parenteral feeds.
  • Central or peripheral total venous hyperalimentation may be required and continued nasogastric feeds may be done with soft silastic feeding tubes as they are well tolerated by children of all ages.
  • Vitamin and electrolyte deficits should be corrected. Children who can consume oral feeds may be given on demand.
  • Specific meal times and routines help patients with difficulty feeding.
  • Depending on the weight deficit, refeeding may take any time between 2 days and 2 weeks and must be followed by a period of accelerated growth for 4-6 months.
  • A therapeutic nutritionist should visit the child every-day and review daily charts with the following information ; weight in kilograms before breakfast with the child unclothed, total calorie intake in the last 24 hours and kcal per kg of ideal weight (for height) consumed in the previous 24 hours.
  • The calorie/energy requirement is calculated by adding 50% to the requirement for the ideal weight for age. Every effort must be made to ensure that this ideal weight for age is achieved in the few days in the hospital. This has been associated with better outcomes.
  • Catch -up growth requirement (kcal/kg/d) = [calories required for age (kcal/kg/d) × ideal weight for age (kg)]/[actual weight (kg)]
  • Catch up growth will occur when the child gains at two to three times the average rate for his/her age.
  • A graphical record of the patient’s height serves as a visible reference and delineates the 50th percentile for weight for height. This keep the physician in check as the child may be gaining weight but not closing the gap for ideal weight for height.
  • The catch up height will lag several months behind the catch up weight. Thus, nutritional rehabilitation should be continued until appropriate weight for height is attained.
  • This reference also helps extrapolate the trend of weight increment and indicates the period of hyperalimentations/hospitalization.
  • Those with sucking/ swallowing problems, malabsorption, developmental delay or complications of intrauterine infections may be referred to pediatricians while mothers with problems related to breastfeeding may be referred to lactation consultants.
  • Special nutritional supplements may be given for organic causes such as pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy for cystic fibrosis.
  • A weight for height percentile which is greater than 10 and 2 consecutive episodes of normal weight gain can be taken as an indication of successful treatment.
  • Parental counseling regarding nutritional rehabilitation and feeding techniques :
    1. Authoritative feeding styles are effective.
    2. Meals should be regular, pleasant, and not rushed. Parents should eat with their children and encourage rather than force children. Snacks should be timed between meals so as not to spoil their appetites.
    3. The child should sit in an upright position and complete his/her meal within 30 minutes.
    4. Maintaining a 3-day diary in which types of food and quantity consumed by the infant over a 3 day period are recorded.
    5. Fruit juices and other ‘empty calorie’ foods should be eliminated from the child’s diet. If given, not more than 8- 16 oz.
    6. Multivitamins should be given. Adding taste- pleasing good such as sour cream, cheese, butter and peanut butter can increase the child’s caloric intake.
    7. Instead of milk, parents can avail government services that provide fortified calorie milk drinks which provide 30 calories per ounce as opposed to 19 calories per ounce in normal milk.
    8. Glucose polymers or extra lipids may be added to formula and toddlers should always be offered solids before liquids.
    9. It is not important to have 4 courses of vegetable, rather that the child eat from all food groups. Follow the rule of 3: 3 meals, 3 snacks and 3 choices. [3]


  1. Venkateshwar V, Raghu Raman TS (2000). "FAILURE TO THRIVE". Med J Armed Forces India. 56 (3): 219–224. doi:10.1016/S0377-1237(17)30171-5. PMC 5532051. PMID 28790712.
  2. Krugman SD, Dubowitz H (2003). "Failure to thrive". Am Fam Physician. 68 (5): 879–84. PMID 13678136.
  3. Jeong SJ (2011). "Nutritional approach to failure to thrive". Korean J Pediatr. 54 (7): 277–81. doi:10.3345/kjp.2011.54.7.277. PMC 3195791. PMID 22025919.

Template:WH Template:WS