Malnutrition and malabsorption

Overview

Malnutrition and malabsorption can occur if a child is not having enough, or the right type, of nutrients, which can lead to a reduced rate of growth and weight. In addition, certain conditions such as Crohn’s disease can impact whether they are able to absorb the nutrients from the food they are eating.

Cause

Malnutrition directly affects the release of growth hormones, lowering the amount in the body. Unfortunately, children that are malnourished will have reduced growth. In Crohn’s disease, the level of growth failure is directly related to the severity of the disease.

Symptoms

Signs of a growth condition due to malnutrition or malabsorption is reduced growth or short stature. The symptoms will range depending on the cause of the malnutrition and or malabsorption.

Diagnosis

The cause of the malnutrition and or malabsorption will influence how the growth condition is diagnosed. For example, one to two thirds or more of children with Crohn’s disease have impaired growth at diagnosis. In some children, the growth issues come before the clinical symptoms of bowel disease by a few years. Which is why it is vital to regularly measure the growth of your child.

Little girl typing numbers on calculator

Growth calculator

It is important to keep track of your child’s growth in order to identify if there is a problem early on. We recommend measuring your child every 6 months, which is now easier, with our simple to use growth calculator.

Male and female patients waiting in corridor of medical centre

Talking to your doctor about child growth

If you are concerned about your own or your child’s growth, you should speak to a doctor. This section will help you with what questions to ask, so that you can be prepared.

Related

Familial short stature

Children with familial short stature tend to fall at the lower extreme of the growth chart (below the 3rd percentile) and their growth is usually impacted by their parents’ heights. This does not tend to impact their overall health and their height is generally considered to be appropriate for their genetic potential based on their parents’ heights.

Malnutrition and malabsorption

Malnutrition and malabsorption can occur if a child is not having enough, or the right type, of nutrients, which can lead to a reduced rate of growth and weight. In addition, certain conditions such as Crohn’s disease can impact whether they are able to absorb the nutrients from the food they are eating.