My two-year-old son has always been a picky eater, but lately he's refusing to eat and drink altogether. He's had a cold the last week, and while I know it's normal to have a weak appetite while sick, the cold is almost gone, while his appetite has not returned. I've offered him his favorite foods, even tried taking him out for fast food but he will only eat one or two bites and then declare "all done". Drinking is the same way. If I give him 8 oz of milk, he'll only drink 3 or 4 oz. I've been tracking his caloric intake over the last 3 days, and it's hovered around 400-500 calories in a 24-hour period. I've tried bolstering his diet with high-cal foods like pediasure, cheese, etc., but to no avail - he won't eat them! This has been going on for a week and now my son, who was already thin to begin with, is losing weight. He's lost 1/2 kilogram in a week, which now places him below the 3rd percentile for his BMI (he's 3" 2", 29.5 lbs). And while he's still getting into trouble like a normal 2-year-old does, I can tell his energy is not what it used to be.
I took him into the doctor yesterday, but he saw a resident instead of his normal ped, who was out for the day. The resident said he's still technically on track on his weight growth curve (hovering just below 50th percentile), so he's not worried. But because of his height (which is in the 97th percentile), he appears emaciated, with ribs sticking out and a distended abdomen. I can almost wrap my fingers around his thighs! He doesn't have any other signs of illness (no abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, etc.) Is BMI a good indicator of overall nutrition and health at this age? Should I be worried that my already skinny boy is losing weight? My kid is starting to look like a poster child for "Save the Children", but that doctor made me feel like I was overreacting. Should I get a second opinon, or is this normal for kids to stop eating, and if so, how long do I let this go on?
His weight is just below the 50th percentile and his height is just below the 90th percentile which indicates he is normal for his age. He does have a higher stature which will make him appear thinner than he is as you stated. He had a cold and it takes time for a child to recover. If you are still concerned suggest giving him milkshakes (milk and ice cream blended), or yogurt smoothies (yogurt, fruit, and ice cream) for additional calories. It is important that you relax at meals and don’t make a fuss if he does not eat well. Give him the foods he likes and let it go how much he eats.
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