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5 surprising causes of children’s anorexia

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PT health Life – Anorexia is a common problem in children, causing negative effects on children’s mental and physical development. Below are the reasons why children lose their appetite.

Anorexia in children is when children do not eat enough food according to their needs, leading to slow growth. About 25% to 35% of children in the toddler and preschool age group are considered picky or anorexic by their parents.

1. Causes of children’s anorexia

1.1 Children have anorexia due to psychology and fear

This is a common and quite common cause, because parents do not understand children’s psychology. Psychological anorexia often occurs when children feel forced into a certain framework such as having to sit in one place from beginning to end of the meal, having to bring a napkin, being required to finish their meal in one sitting. fixed time, tense meal atmosphere, blaming or badmouthing children during meals, putting medicine in food or milk…

To some extent, children change their psychology and physiology during development and this will also lead to signs of anorexia or picky eating.

Some children are afraid of eating because parents introduce complementary foods too early (before 6 months of age) when the child has not fully developed reflexes and coordination to respond to a complementary diet . Some children are afraid to eat because of the pain and discomfort they have experienced before, such as choking, difficulty breathing, having a nasogastric tube placed… also make them lazy to eat.

1.2 Due to fear of strange foods

Many children have not eaten a strange food so they react, or they have eaten that food once but are scared so they react and not eat it again. However, if children gradually get used to new and unfamiliar foods, they will accept them. If parents do not know how to handle this stage of fear of new foods, there will be a situation where the child does not eat or has anorexia. Many children only like to eat familiar flavors and colors that they trust and find delicious.

Anorexia in children is when children do not eat enough food according to their needs. Illustration photo.

1.3 Due to inappropriate food supplementation

In contrast to some children who are afraid of new foods, many children are bored with familiar foods, which causes a state of not eating or anorexia. Some children drink too much drinks such as milk, juice or eat too much cake and candy, which will reduce their appetite and prevent them from eating foods rich in energy and nutrients . Giving children snacks between meals and snacks can also affect their appetite.

1.4 Due to parents’ feeding habits

Most children in the toddler stage like to imitate the eating behaviors of their parents, family, and surrounding children. Family and friends are role models for children to develop reasonable interests and eating habits.

Children’s eating habits are greatly influenced by the eating habits and behaviors of the whole family. Therefore, if the family has unhealthy eating habits, it will more or less affect the child, thereby forming bad habits, causing the child to become anorexic.

1.5 Due to illness

Some children may also have anorexia due to acute diseases caused by bacterial or viral infections of the respiratory tract (pharyngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis…), gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, enteritis… ). Parasitic infections (worms, tapeworms), flu, ear infections, anemia, sore throats , mouth sores… are all diseases that can make children lose their appetite.

After each illness, even though the child is cured, he or she will also lose appetite, anorexia, and picky eating. Especially when an infection requires antibiotics, a lot of vitamins and minerals are lost, especially vitamins A , C, group B, magnesium, iron, zinc… which will cause children to lose their appetite.

2. What to do when a child has anorexia?

When children show signs of anorexia or loss of appetite, parents need to change their child’s food every day, giving them many different dishes and foods they like.

Feed children a balance of different types of food, do not feed them too much starch or too much meat or fish. Change the way of cooking to make it delicious for children. Decorate and prepare beautiful, colorful and attractive dishes. Prepare some small, soft, eye-catching foods that children can hold and eat by themselves.

Parents need to pay attention to feeding children many meals a day and alternating snacks. If your child refuses to eat a new food, don’t force him or her to try again another time. Do not let children eat snacks such as cakes, candy, soft drinks… before meals, because it will make them lose their hunger and appetite, which will cause them to refuse to eat other nutritious foods. Feed your child when he or she feels hungry. When a child refuses to eat, you should not force him to eat, but wait until he feels hungry, wants to eat and asks for food, then let him eat.

Children’s eating time should be limited to about 20 – 30 minutes. Parents need to let children exercise, play or bathe before eating so that children feel hungry.

Let children eat with friends and family. Parents eat the child’s food or feed the child their own food if appropriate to encourage the child to eat. Praise delicious food, praise children, and encourage children to be confident and excited when eating. Children should be allowed to feed themselves, hold their own food to eat, and support the child while eating.

You should not use appetite stimulants for children with anorexia. Vitamins and minerals can be supplemented if the quality of the child’s meal is not guaranteed, but you should follow the doctor’s instructions.

Take your child to a medical facility for examination if your child has the following symptoms:

  • No weight gain for two consecutive months;
  • Children have anorexia for a long time;
  • Children are slow and do not play;
  • Children are sick, have fever, cough, diarrhea , pain in the mouth, throat…
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