Adequate nutrient intake and good health is undoubtedly an indicator for appropriate growth. Nutritional growth retardation and delayed puberty is more prevalent among population who are malnourished. The distinctive feature of malnutrition is low weight for height. By improving their nutritional status, these kids can achieve catch-up growth. Studies have shown that there is lower intake of proteins, fats, calcium, and iron in children with short stature. Hence nutritional assessment is important while evaluating a child with poor growth. Even in kids on growth hormone treatment, an appropriate intake of nutrients is encouraged.
Sometimes kids have malabsorption resulting in poor absorption of food. Children may have poor absorption of food related to various problems like celiac disease, chronic bowel diseases, worm infestations, and pancreatic disease. Various kidney related diseases, heart diseases, and diseases of thyroid and adrenal may further reduce appetite. A possibility of food fads, poor calcium intake (due to lactose intolerance) or eating disorders (e.g. anorexia nervosa) should also be considered in the appropriate circumstances.