Is Your Toddler Underweight?

Toddlers generally do a pretty good job of regulating their own food intake. They tend to stop when they are no longer hungry, although they are particularly vulnerable to candies and goodies. You can best monitor your child’s weight through the use of a growth chart.

A growth chart will tell you how your toddler is physically developing. It will track not only your child’s weight, but his measurements as well. During your regular well child visits to your pediatrician or health care provider, your child’s measurements will be recorded and you will be able to find out where your child falls in comparison to other children – their growth percentile.

If your toddler is not gaining weight in proportion to the way that she is gaining in height, this can sometimes be an indicator that there is another problem. This is especially the case if you toddler loses, rather than gains, weight. If this continues over a period of time, your toddler may be diagnosed with a condition known as “failure to thrive” or “failure to gain weight.

If your child falls in a low percentile, usually below the 5th percentile, your health care provider may consider your toddler to be under weight. If this is the case, the health care provider will likely want to keep an eye on your toddler to make sure that there is not a problem with development. Your health care provider might talk to you about your toddler’s diet and nutrition, and may order a variety of other tests such as blood or urine tests to determine exactly why your toddler is under-weight.

If you believe that your child is not gaining weight as fast as she should, you should contact your health care provider. Failure to gain weight can cause a variety of other problems, such as heart disease, cystic fibrosis, endocrine disorders, and motor or cognitive delays.

Being small as a toddler doesn’t always mean your child will be small as an adult. Small toddlers often grow up to be healthy or even overweight adults, and even larger heavier toddlers can wind up being beanpoles. Again, the consistent growth pattern is much more important that the actual weight of your toddler.

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