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Maternal and Child Health Bureau ~ 6

Children may also have feeding problems as a result of behavioral or emotional issues, many of which result from relational difficulties early in life. Other feeding problems may be the result of complex perinatal medical interventions that center around feeding or around the mouth, making subsequent oral experiences, including feeding, unpleasant (Cloud, 1997).

Risk of under or overweight among children with special needs

Overweight Conditions which predispose to overweight frequently occur in the child with trisomy 21, Prader-Willi syndrome and spina bifida. Reasons for an overweight condition in these children include hypotonia, lower metabolic rates, lack of ambulation and exercise, and excessive food intake relative to expenditure of energy (Cloud, 1997; Ekvall, 1993).

Underweight Underweight is a common occurrence among children with feeding problems, whether the problems are physical or emotional/behavioral. For example, underweight may result from a situation where the child has high energy needs that are difficult to meet because of other physiologic reasons such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia or cardiac problems (Cloud, 1997; Anderson, 1999). (For more information about underweight, see the module about Identifying Poor Growth in Infants and Toddlers.)

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