Pediatric Disease Related Malnutrition

Cath and Frankie’s story

“Frankie has a heart condition that he was born with. He was tube fed straight away. We have to get extra calories added into his milk as Frankie is very slow at putting on weight – and keeping the weight on because he’s very active, very active! It is a bit of a battle.

His feeds have been his main source of food and fluid, for him to grow up, and he’s done fantastic with them. We treat him like every other child, he can run, jump, play. We don’t let anything stop him.”

“It’s incredible. From such a difficult start in life, Frankie can now run, he can jump – we don’t let anything stop him.”
Cath, Frankie’s mum - UK

Inadequate growth as a consequence of disease related malnutrition

Optimal growth and development in childhood are essential for long-term health and well-being. However, there are a number of reasons why some children can have difficulties growing optimally. Inadequate growth may
occur in children who have an underlying disease or condition such as cerebral palsy, a congenital heart disease (CHD), cystic fibrosis, liver disease or cancer; poor growth can have a detrimental effect on both short and long-term health outcomes.

Normal growth for children starts with meeting their nutritional needs4,5

Normal growth for children starts with meeting their nutritional needs8,9.

For example, infants and children with CHD who have low weight pre-surgery are known to have poorer surgical outcomes or even have their essential surgery delayed1-3. Whether disease-related or not, chronic poor weight gain during early life is associated with long-term consequences, including stunting and permanent alterations in brain growth and function, leading to cognitive and behavioral impairment4-7, providing a strong rationale for specialized nutritional support.

The role of nutrition

Whatever the cause of the growth challenge, provision of adequate nutrition is essential. Problems such as gastrointestinal issues, poor recovery from illness, increased risk of infections and more lengthy hospital stays have been associated with inadequate nutrition9,10.

Nutritional screening and growth monitoring are therefore important to ensure children are identified as early as possible and receive the appropriate nutritional therapy, tailored to their specific needs, that will enable optimal growth and development9,10.

Nutricia’s role in pediatric disease related malnutrition

We believe every child should have the opportunity to grow and thrive in order to reach their full potential, which is why we’ve been developing products designed for children with challenged growth for over 30 years. The Nutricia range of foods for special medical purposes cover patients through from infancy to adolescence and beyond. We partner with healthcare professionals and other experts to help manage children with a wide range of medical conditions, to ensure optimal growth and development. Our aim is to improve long-term health outcomes by offering a range and variety of medical nutrition products and enteral tube feeding options, as well as tubes/pumps.

  1. Mehta et al. JPEN 2013: 37(4):460-481
  2. Beer et al.  Nutr Clin Practice 2015;30:609-624
  3. Kerzner et al. PEDIATRICS 2015;135(2)
  4. Beer et al. Nutr Clin Practice 2015;30:609-624.
  5. Hecht et at. Clin Nutr 2013:34:53-59.
  6. Hecht et al. Clin Nutr 2013:34:53-59.
  7. Huysentruyt et al. Nutrition 2013;29 1356-1361.