Our continuing professional development (CPD) articles are designed to assist with your nursing skills and practice.
Why you should read this article: • To be aware of the link between malnutrition in children and faltering growth • To understand how regular surveillance of child growth can prevent or identify malnutrition • To contribute towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD (UK readers) • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers) Malnutrition can be defined as ‘a state in which a deficiency of nutrients such as energy, protein, vitamins and minerals cause measurable adverse effects on body composition, function or clinical outcome’. Identification of malnutrition in children, therefore, requires an understanding of their growth. Faltering growth is the failure to achieve the expected rate of weight gain, linear and brain growth at a normal rate for age, which is a known consequence of inadequate nutrition. There are many medical, social and behavioural factors that can place a child at risk of malnutrition and faltering growth. This article examines malnutrition and faltering growth in children. It discusses monitoring and measurement of child growth, the aetiology and consequences of malnutrition, some risk factors and malnutrition screening. The article also considers some prevention strategies and the role of the nurse in the prevention of malnutrition.
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