is characterized by the failure to eat adequately as reflected
by weight loss or a failure to gain weight. Feeding disorders
are diagnosed when the infant or young child does not eat adequately
and the problem is not caused by a medical condition such as cleft
palate, congenital heart disease, or chronic lung disease, or
a mental condition such as any disorder that causes mental retardation.
Symptoms may also include:
Poor weight gain or an actual weight loss.
Some disorders have similar symptoms. The clinician, therefore,
in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the following
disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.
Congenital Heart Disease
Underlying medical condition (disorders of the child's
digestive and neurological systems; for any abnormalities of
the ear, nose, or throat; for problems with respiratory control;
for oromotor difficulties, which relate to the movement of the
mouth and tongue; and for any swallowing disorders)
of such disorders is unknown, but often results from a variety
of factors such as poverty, dysfunctional child-caregiver interactions,
and parental misinformation. Feeding problems often occur in infant
and children who are tube fed for extended periods of time due
to some other illness or disability. In premature infants, the
underdeveloped sphincter muscle, between the stomach and esophagus,
can cause the infant to spit up frequently during feedings. Disorders
of the digestive system can also cause feeding problems, and include
abnormalities of the throat and esophagus that cause pain during
swallowing, inhaling food into the lungs, constipation. Feeding
disorders can be caused by food allergies, by difficulty with
the movement of the mouth or tongue, or may be a cry for attention
by a neglected child or a child with a behavioral disorder.
for feeding disorders can involve a team including gastroenterologists,
nutritionists, behavioral psychologists, occupational and speech
therapists. Social workers may also supply assistance to provide
families with support and resources for children with these types
of disorders. Depending on the severity
of the condition, the following measures may be taken:
the number of calories and amount of fluid the infant takes
Correct any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
A short period of hospitalization may be required to accomplish
malnutrition can permanently stunt mental and physical development
if it is severe and long-lasting. Early treatment can prevent
and Psychotherapy [ See
Therapy Section ]:
correct any underlying physical illnesses or psychosocial problems.
Cognitive behavioral therapy appears to be the therapy most encountered
in the treatment of a feeding disorder.