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Why is my child thin?

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

With today's emphasis given to obesity and overweight, underweight and thin are getting unnoticed.

It's almost never a good idea for a kid to try to gain weight through junk and oily foods. But kids who are thin sometimes feel like they aren't the right size and feel low and lack confidence. They also get bullied about their size.

Having said this, parents are not the best judges to label a child as underweight. Here are a few good reasons why some kids are thin and that they don't weigh as much as their peer groups:

1. If the child is small-framed. It just means a person's body frame (their skeleton and muscles structure) might be smaller or thinner.

2. Some kids are simply small until they hit the puberty. So, wait until they reach the pubertal phase of life.

3. Genetics are a prime factor that decide their body structure. If you are short expect your child to grow short, small, or thin. Parents pass along their genes,

4. Malabsorption of nutrients - increasing calories alone do not help, but if a child is having any kid of issues related to stomach like celiac or asthma, thyroid disorders, imbalance in metabolism or chronic conditions, they inhibit the nutrient absorption.

5. Stress, anxiety of being bullied or left alone could result in lack of appetite, aversion towards food, consequently affecting the weight and leading to malnourishment.

It is important for a parent to help the child figure out the right reasons. Be bonded and support their development and self-esteem, which is critical in the teen years.

The best advice for them is the same as the health advice for all kids:

1.The first fix is nutrient malabsorption: Don't focus only on their calorific eating. Certain micronutrient corrections are required before a child can start eating and absorbing the nutrients effectively.. Speak to your physician and get certain vitamins and minerals like B12, iron, zinc etc tested. Once,these deficiency correction can produce better results.

2.Eat a healthy balance of foods. Balance all the food groups. No one food can help in gaining weight. and at the same time trying to gain weight by eating extra calories from unhealthy source is a bad idea. Foods that are healthy in calories, fats and protein and aid in weight gain include the following:

  • Avocados

  • Bananas

  • Nuts - Almonds, Cashews, walnuts, pista

  • Fruit Milkshakes and Smoothies

  • Dry fruit powder

3. Physical activities and Sports - Exercising daily can help to tone their muscles and build flexibility, thereby increasing appetite and stimulating hunger pangs. Reduce their screen time and encourage them into participating in sports or outdoor casual play which can build their emotional well-being.

Following healthy food habits over a period of time can mark a difference in weight and in their overall development.

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