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underweight teenager

(15 Posts)
alienplanet Sat 06-Oct-12 19:41:11

My son has autism he is 14 years old. He is 5 foot 10 and weights 6 stone 10.
I took him to the doctors when he was 7 stone 2 but they didnt seem concerned and said if he hasnt gained weight in six months bring him back. He was ill about 2 weeks ago that is why he has lost weight. I was wondering weather mumsnetters think I should take him back sooner or am I worrying about nothing?

droves Sat 06-Oct-12 20:04:41

Does he like milkshakes ?

If so I'd give him complain milkshakes after his dinner /before bed to help him put on a bit of weight.

Take him back to doc , he is very thin .

He is terribly underweight and he needs to see a dietitian ..and a different GP!

Is he a very poor eater? His BMI is 13.5 ..under 17 is considered anorexic. My DD1's BMI hit 12.6 at her lowest (stressed Aspie) and she only narrowly avoided hospitalisation then.

Your son definitely needs attention to find out why he is so underweight and to help gain a bit, so if the GP is useless do take him to another!! I know some teen boys are very thin, but he really is worryingly underweight.

Hope you can get him some help smile

coff33pot Sat 06-Oct-12 20:26:11

A 14 year old (male) child
who is 95 pounds
and is 5 feet and 10 inches tall has
a body mass index of 13.7,

which is below the 5th percentile,

and would indicate that your child is underweight.

Being underweight or at risk of being underweight means that your child has a body mass index for his age that is lower than the 5th percentile. This can be normal, especially if your child has been growing and developing normally, has a healthy diet, and is active and energetic. However, being underweight can also be a sign of a problem and deserves a full medical exam, especially if your child is not gaining weight or has recently lost weight, has diarrhea, vomiting, poor appetite, an unhealthy diet, or a low energy level. Children that are underweight can also be at risk of having eating disorders, especially if your child is overly concerned about losing weight, has a poor self body image, exercises excessively, has stopped having periods, or is using laxatives to lose weight. You should see your doctor if you suspect that your child has a medical condition causing him to be underweight or if you suspect an eating disorder.

Just entered a BMI check online for you which confirms what I had thought. I would go back to GP and insist on a proper health check.

Build Up or Complan may help too in the meantime in between meals

Find a local Boots if you have one with a weight checker/BMI checker for 50p and it will print out his weight/height/BMI and what it should be for age and take that with you x

alienplanet Sat 06-Oct-12 20:36:03

Thanks everyone thats what I Was thinking that he needs some help just wanted to make sure I wasnt over reacting. I will try the milkshakes and will get him to see one of the other doctors at our surgery.

coff33pot Sat 06-Oct-12 20:53:49

I would and then you can ask perhaps for a high calorie drink for him. If he will eat avocados they are a good source of vits and calories too and are nice stuffed with bacon or something he would like x

blondefriend Sat 06-Oct-12 21:20:12

When my son was struggling to gain weight because of eating issues (a toddler admittingly but considered anorexic) we added "secret" calories to everything. Lots of butter in mashed potato, oil in pasta dressings, butter/lard in risottos etc. I'm sure you can come up with better ideas surrounding your own son's diet but lots and lots of dairy products (cheese, full fat yogurts, cream etc) help. Don't worry too much about a "balanced diet" at the moment, it is more important to get the weight on him and then work on the rest. A body in starvation mode actually loses its hunger so as he puts on weight his appetite will naturally increase and then you can introduce better foods.
Good luck, it might be a long road. Make sure you have the right professional help behind you.

moosemama Sat 06-Oct-12 21:20:22

Where did you find that BMI check Coff33? We are having similar problems with ds1 at the moment and I have had two different results. One said 1.9th centile and the other 3rd centile. The American ones seem different to the UK ones. confused He's honestly skeletal after the recent vomiting virus and as usual after this sort of bug he has now developed lactose intolerance on top of being gluten intolerant so he can't have Complan or Build-up. sad We've spent a fortune on free-from food this weekend to try and get as many calories into him as possible.

Good idea about Boots, ours has one of those machines - I think I'll get dh to take him there tomorrow.

Op definitely take him back an push for a referral. In the meantime, even though the GP can't do much else, they can at least give you build-up drinks etc on prescription.

coff33pot Sat 06-Oct-12 21:42:18

Moosemama BMI Calculator I had it saved as was going through a lot of them with DD at the time.

moosemama Sat 06-Oct-12 21:50:19

Thanks Coff, will go and see what that one tells me in a mo.

moosemama Sat 06-Oct-12 21:54:53

BMI 14.4 sad

Before this last lot of weightloss he was bouncing between the 2nd and 7th centiles and this has just tipped him too far the wrong way.

coff33pot Sat 06-Oct-12 21:57:41

oh no sad

I would get back to GP Moose. I know someone here recommended a high calorie Nutri Drink I think it was Maria you can get it in a shake which would not be good for your DS but it does come in juice form? It was expensive to buy but the GP or a nutritionist could prescribe it.

I will see if I can find the link x

moosemama Sat 06-Oct-12 22:03:58

Thanks Coff. The worst bit is that he eats like a horse. He has bigger meals than dh and snacks constantly.

He has an enormous bowl of porridge stacked with fresh fruit for breakfast, two sandwiches, plus fruit, plus a cake every lunchtime, plus crisps and soya milkshake on a Friday and a cake or toast and jam when he comes home from school, then a big tea then another treat/dessert.

We've been through NHS dietician, who said his diet is excellent and couldn't offer us any help. (Mind you she told us to give him normal porridge oats when the Paed had said to treat him as coeliac. hmm)

Doesn't help that he's a militant veggie either.

coff33pot Sun 07-Oct-12 00:12:57

moosemama I am wondering if it is possibly to do with his metabolism? My sister was a great eater but was always as thin as a rake. My mother would that she worries the weight off her.

She ate like a horse but was an avid live on your nerves type of girl, so much so she didnt stop bed wetting till she was nearly 12 and yet she had no other issues and was NT as they come.

Has he had tests for anemia? wondering if he is absorbing enough nutrients from the food intake and perhaps his body is not holding it x

moosemama Sun 07-Oct-12 11:55:15

He wasn't always this thin though Coff, he has always been short for his age, but not skinny. He started to drop weight at the end of year 2, so around 6/7 years old and it got much worse when he started the Juniors, so 7/8. That was when the Paed decided to test for Coeliacs, but the test was messed up by him having a D&V bug the week before, so he didn't eat any gluten for 10 days. The test was negative, but the Paed said to treat him as if he has Coeliacs, based on his food and digestive diary, as there was a clear correlation between symptoms and gluten intake. (Of course this means no dx and therefore no prescription for gf food.)

He suddenly grew and gained weight consistently for about 6 months after he went gf, but then he started having regular diarrhoea episodes again and his weight plummeted. He lost half a stone from September to January and the GP referred him back to the Paed. Paed didn't do much, other than one stool sample, when ds was well and passing normal stools - so that came back as normal. All the Paed has said is that ds doesn't seem to be able to break down fats normally, but his stool sample tested negative for pathogens and normal for enzymes.

He has had bloods taken, which came back very odd, but were overlooked initally. The Paed said he wasn't concerned about them. He is veggie and gf (so no meat or fortified cereal products) yet bloods were high in B12. They were also high in eosinophils (indicating allergic inflammation) and blood proteins. Basically he has gained and lost the same few pounds over and over across the last two years, but the Paed is unconcerned. Didn't help that their scales and measure both went out of calibration time before last and they didn't notice, so he was shorter and weighed significantly less at his last appointment than at the previous one - which was again ignored by the paed. hmm angry

As a baby he was always on the 25th centile for height and in the middle of 9th and 25th for weight. His weight dropped to just above the 9th centile when he started to walk and stayed there until he got Scarlett Fever twice in quick succession in Reception year, when it dropped below the 2nd. He gradually gained up to between the 5th and 9th centile over the next year or so, then got Scarlett Fever again in Year 3, which by coincidence - or not - is when his weight plummetted again.

Over the summer we have had a couple of episodes of him screaming in pain with cramps and being unable to leave the toilet for between 24 and 36 hours. We haven't a clue whether this was because he was glutened or if there was something else going on.

There's definitely something not right, but I can't get anyone to listen or take it seriously. Paed just says that because he's dropped that low before and recovered it's not a problem. angry

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