Some children struggle to gain weight or grow as expected, which may be because they cannot manage to eat enough food to meet their nutritional requirements.
They may have a poor appetite or they have higher nutritional needs, for example due to high activity levels or illness.
It’s important to know that the dietary changes I discuss in this blog are not suitable for long term use without the individualised guidance of a Registered Dietitian and neither is this diet suitable for other members of the family.
I know this can be very worrying for you as a parent. Your health visitor or GP can refer you to an NHS Dietitian for individualised help or you can book with us privately via
Firstly, it’s important to assess whether your child really is underweight.
Sometimes a comment by a friend or family member about your child’s weight or size can cause worry unnecessarily. Comparing your child with another of a similar age, can make us become anxious that our child is too thin.
If you are concerned about your child’s weight, make sure you seek professional advice from your health visitor, GP or a Paediatric Dietitian.
Your child’s expected growth is based on their birth weight and length (1) and is plotted on growth (centile) charts found in their red book that you’re given when they’re born.
The red book is also called the Personal Child Health Record and you can read more about the red book in my blog here.