Children's Hospital Colorado

Failure to Thrive

What is failure to thrive?

Normal growth is the foundation of childhood health. When growth slows or stops, it is critical that the cause be understood and treated. Failure to thrive specifically refers to a child who is not gaining weight appropriately.

What causes failure to thrive?

The causes of failure to thrive can be organized into three general categories. First, a child may not be taking in enough nutrition to support normal weight gain. Secondly, some children may have increased needs for calories. For example, children with certain types of congenital heart disease may require a higher-calorie diet in order to gain weight. Third, some children may be unable to properly digest and absorb food, thereby limiting their ability to properly utilize nutrition for growth.

Who gets failure to thrive?

Failure to thrive is most commonly encountered in the first years of life, when a child's growth and rate of weight gain is the fastest. Failure to thrive is seen frequently in children with existing chronic medical problems.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Renee Porter, NP

Renee Porter, NP

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?

Deborah Neigut, MD

Deborah Neigut, MD

Gastroenterology - Pediatric

Samantha Woodruff, MD

Samantha Woodruff, MD

Gastroenterology - Pediatric

Stacie Schreiner, FNP-BC

Stacie Schreiner, FNP-BC

Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?