Recognizing a Nutritional Issue

Recognizing a Nutritional Issue

Your child may develop a nutritional issue at any time during her development for a number of reasons.  

Three of the seven most common health conditions affecting children involve nutritional issues.Sometimes the issues may be related to health, sometimes they are just part of the changes a child goes through while growing up. According to the Center for Disease Control, three of the seven most common health conditions affecting children are nutritional-related: allergies (including food allergies), obesity, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Sometimes the issues may be related to health, sometimes they are just part of the changes a child goes through while growing up. According to the Center for Disease Control, three of the seven most common health conditions affecting children are nutritional-related: allergies (including food allergies), obesity, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

At John Muir Health we help you understand when an issue exists, and provide you with the care, support, and resources you need to address those issues. We work closely with your child’s physician to make sure the care we are providing matches your child’s needs.

Infancy

Newborns may experience breastfeeding difficulties for a number of reasons, ranging from issues of latching onto the mother’s breast to the mother not being able to produce enough milk. Signs to watch out for include:

  • Feeding less than eight times a day
  • Feedings taking an excessively long time
  • Your newborn is constantly hungry, even after numerous feedings a day
  • You find it difficult to wake your baby for a feeding

Toddlers

Nutritional issues like food allergies can arise as your child starts to eat solid foods. A food allergy can manifest itself in many ways, from respiratory issues to gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. A good indicator that a nutritional issue may exist is if your child shows a sharp deviation from her normal progress on the height or weight charts during her regular pediatric check-ups.

“Picky eating” is the most common nutritional issue to affect toddlers. While it can be caused by a health-related condition like food allergies, it often is just a case of their asserting their independence and testing your boundaries. We can provide you with information and strategies to help you encourage your toddler to eat healthy and meet their nutritional needs.

Adolescence

A broader range of nutritional issues may begin to affect children from the age of around ten on. Gastrointestinal conditions like gluten sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease are just a few of the nutritional issues that may affect your child.

It is also the time when children begin to form their own opinions about nutrition, and may want to change their diet because of changes in their lives, like entering a sports program or becoming a vegetarian. Following a “food fad” can be detrimental to adolescents because their nutritional needs are different from an adult’s nutritional needs.

Weight and eating disorders can be an issue for a child of any age, but it certainly is more prevalent as your child grows more independent and makes her own choices about what and when to eat.

If your child has a sudden change in her attitude or behavior towards eating, appears to be losing or gaining too much weight, has a lack of energy, pale skin, or is experiencing frequent gastrointestinal issues or abdominal pain, she may be having a nutritional issue.

We can help you and your child figure out if she is experiencing a nutritional issue, and in partnership with her physician, provide you with the care and support she needs to overcome it.

For more information about our children's nutrition services, please call (925) 941-4027.