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Failure to Thrive (Poor Growth)

Key Points about Failure to Thrive (Poor Growth)

  • Failure to thrive (FTT) is slow physical development in a baby or child. It is caused by a baby or child not having enough nutrition.
  • A child with failure to thrive is at risk for problems such as short height, behavior problems and developmental delays.
  • FTT has many possible causes. A baby or child may not be getting enough nutrients and calories. Or a baby or child may take in enough food, but not be able to absorb enough nutrients and calories.
  • A baby or child with an ongoing (chronic) health condition may also need more calories and nutrients than normal.
  • In some cases, a family may not understand what a baby needs. In severe cases, neglect or abuse may lead to FTT if food is kept from a baby on purpose.
  • FTT can be prevented by seeking early help with a child’s nutritional needs.
Children's Team

Children's Team


Our Stories

Our Stories

Deion Gladden successfully treated for environmentally-influenced intestinal issues by Dr. Anil Darbari.

Deion's Story

Nineteen years ago, Deion was born prematurely and developed eosinophilic esophagitis and acid reflux, along with failure to thrive. For years, he endured environmentally influenced intestinal issues that he and his family didn't understand until they met Children's National specialists who "never gave up on us."



Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Our gastroenterology experts provide expert diagnosis and treatments for children with digestive, liver and nutrition disorders.