Weight does not fully reflect the health condition of the child. However, it can be an indicator of nutritional status. No wonder, if parents feel worried to see thin children because they could be malnourished. However, it’s not just a matter of nutrition, there are various causes of underweight children that you should be aware of. Starting from certain diseases, mental disorders, to hormonal or digestive problems.
Causes of thin children
When conducting an examination, the doctor will look at a number of factors before concluding that the child is underweight. This examination includes the child’s eating habits, overall health condition, weight and body structure, to certain health disorders.
The doctor will also calculate the child’s body mass index (BMI). If the BMI is < -3 standard deviations, then the child is in the very underweight category.
There are several factors that can cause thin children, including:
Lack of nutrition
A common cause of underweight children is nutritional deficiencies due to insufficient food intake.
In addition, this problem can be triggered by consumption of foods that are not nutritious, picky food alias picky eater, or have problems swallowing food.
There are several diseases that cause underweight children to be malnourished. Health problems that affect digestion, such as acid reflux, chronic diarrhea, cystic fibrosis, chronic liver disease, and celiac disease can prevent a child from gaining weight.
The reason is, these conditions make it difficult for children to absorb enough nutrients and calories to gain weight.
In addition, diseases that cause thin children are metabolic disorders. This condition can make it difficult for a child’s body to break down, process, or take energy from food.
Excessive activity that is not balanced with adequate nutritional intake can be the cause of thin children even though they eat a lot. Because, too much physical activity can burn a lot of calories, resulting in low body weight.
Not only diseases that cause thin children, mental problems can trigger it. Poor mental health can affect a child’s appetite, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or eating disorders. This condition can be the cause of thin children and hard to eat.
Use of certain drugs
The use of certain drugs, such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs, can reduce a child’s appetite. When children do not want to eat, it can cause them to be malnourished so that their bodies are thin.
Food allergies can make a child deprived of calories. Therefore, the more food allergies a child has, the greater the risk of calorie deficiency which can lead to underweight.
Hormone or digestive problems
Hormonal disorders, digestive problems, or other problems with the absorption of nutrients, can sometimes make it difficult for children to gain weight as they get older. As a result, the child also has a thin body.