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Failure to Thrive (Poor Growth)

Key Points about Failure to Thrive (Poor Growth)

  • Failure to thrive (FTT) is slow physical development in a baby or child. It is caused by a baby or child not having enough nutrition.
  • A child with failure to thrive is at risk for problems such as short height, behavior problems and developmental delays.
  • FTT has many possible causes. A baby or child may not be getting enough nutrients and calories. Or a baby or child may take in enough food, but not be able to absorb enough nutrients and calories.
  • A baby or child with an ongoing (chronic) health condition may also need more calories and nutrients than normal.
  • In some cases, a family may not understand what a baby needs. In severe cases, neglect or abuse may lead to FTT if food is kept from a baby on purpose.
  • FTT can be prevented by seeking early help with a child’s nutritional needs.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Treatment at Children's National Hospital

Our pediatric experts are dedicated to providing comprehensive and personalized care for your child to treat and manage the full range of digestive disorders. Discover more about the treatment we offer.

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Providers Who Treat Failure to Thrive (Poor Growth)

Departments that Treat Failure to Thrive (Poor Growth)

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Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Our gastroenterology experts provide expert diagnosis and treatments for children with digestive, liver and nutrition disorders.