Loss of Appetite in Children and When Should You Worry
Before coming to the conclusion that your child is losing her appetite, it is very important to understand what the term means and what is the time when you should worry and take action. Many parents compare their children with others and if they find that their children do not eat or eat less than others, they conclude that it is losing of appetite.
What is loss of appetite?
The term means not feeling hungry or not having a desire to eat anything. There are varieties of reasons why a child experiences a reduction in appetite. Often when this is occasional, parents should not worry. If your child starts thinking that she needs to lose weight or wants to be thinner, talk to your doctor. This is a physical illness called anorexia which needs to be treated along with counselling.
Causes of problem with appetite in children
- Slow rate of growth
When there is change in growth, it can cause children to lose their hunger. The growth rate in first year is rapid, but it slows down after one year gets completed. So, if there is a decline in appetite due to this, it is quite normal.
Surprisingly kids have to go through many stress moments and this may have negative effect on toddlers and children which includes loss of appetite. So, if this is the cause you need to identify the stress and try to alleviate it.
Depression is a big reason behind deterioration of appetite in children. Most of the parents do not figure out depression in their children. If you observe lack of hunger in your child, it is a clear indication for that.
Some illnesses cause reduction of appetite in children. If you see sudden change in your child, check whether she is suffering from sore throat, fever or something else. Most children recover their diet as soon as the discomfort is over.
There are some medicines that take away appetite from children. If your child is undergoing any treatment or has just completed one, ask the doctor to prescribe some appetite booster to regain her appetite. If it is a side effect of antibiotic, it will take a little bit of time.
Anaemia is also one of the causes behind lack of desire to eat in children. Anaemic children are weaker, thinner and irritable. Treat this because it may interfere your child’s development and academic performance too.
- Anorexia nervosa
This is a psychological aversion of eating which children develop in order to become like their screen idols. If you feel this is the case with your child, take her to an eating disorder specialist and get this treated.
Irregular bowel movements in children make them lose their appetite. Check out the symptoms and if they match, treat it.
- Intestinal worms
Worms enter into kid’s digestive system and live there. These can also make your child lose interest in eating. Get the tests done and get it treated at the earliest.
Tips to prevent loss of appetite in kids
- Do not argue with the kid at mealtime
- Try to adjust meal schedules so that you serve food when she is hungry
- Offer snacks in between meals to your child
- Help your child make healthy food choices
- If your child is not hungry, do not force her to eat
- Break the meals and serve at regular intervals
- Encourage physical activities
Losing interest in food or selected food items is common in children. So, it is not alarming each time. If your child is happy, looks healthy and sleeps well, there is not much to worry about. Trying a little bit and spending time with your child will help her get over it easily. However, a prolonged loss of appetite or if your child does not want to eat at all, need medical attention immediately. Keep a close watch on your child’s eating habits if you find any of the symptoms matching, contact your child’s doctor. Besides, if your child is already underweight or has gone through long illness, you should consult your doctor to get her some appetite boosting medicine.