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Allow underweight children to be ‘messy’ with their food, says NICE

28th September 2017

Slow weight gain in early childhood, also known as faltering growth, may be associated with persisting problems with appetite and feeding, says NICE, in new guidance published today.

The NICE guideline aims to improve diagnosis, assessment and monitoring of children with faltering growth and to help GPs and health visitors support parents and carers to develop a management plan together.

The NICE guideline suggests faltering growth may be indicated by: a fall across 1 or more weight centile spaces if birth weight is below the 9th centile, a fall across 2 or more weight centile spaces if birthweight was between the 9th and 91st centiles, a fall across 3 or more weight centile spaces if birthweight was above the 91st centile or when current weight is below the 2nd centile for age whatever the birthweight.

According to data collected in the National Child Measurement Programme, in 2015, 1% of children aged 4-5 were underweight.