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My 5 year old won't eat, and appears to be loosing weight.... What do I do?

All he wants is candy... pop.... sugary juices.... and other various foods with empty calories.... he was recently diagnosed with anemia and we have been supplimenting with flinstones vitamins with iron...he does like veggies, but even those he doesnt seem to want to eat anymore.... he is going to the doctor on monday because of this, and the fact that he seems to be loosing weight....... they will probably also check his iron again (cbc blood test). what else can i do?


Asked by teacup714 at 1:13 PM on Jul. 22, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (15)
  • Wow - this question became a monster! I earlier provided the Ensure suggestion - but a little more info: At 4 years old my DD stopped eating ... she would "graze" (that's what the dr's called it). She'd only eat little amounts of pretzels or goldfish crackers, some cereal, not much else and she started losing weight and losing energy. We took her to a pediatric gastroenteroligist (sp?) and she was diagnosed w/Crohn's Disease. It doesn't sound like the same symptoms as w/your little boy, but there may be a lot more going on than battle of the wills. Anyhow, they had to put her on a steroid for almost a yr and she's still on a few "maintenance" medications (she's now 8 1/2), but is healthy and eating well - still drinks the Ensure twice/day. My pediatrician totally MISSED the diagnosis, so the Thank God for the specialist. Make sure you ask lots of questions at his dr's appt and don't be afraid to ask for a 2nd opinion.

    Answer by jj.mominmd at 9:23 AM on Jul. 23, 2009

  • Have you tried any of the high-calorie drinks, Ensure? or Boost? You can also mix them w/ice cream and make a "milkshake" so it seems like sweets to them, but has a fair amount of nutrition in it. My DD drinks a milk chocolate Ensure w/breakfast and w/dinner to supplement calories & vitamins.

    Answer by jj.mominmd at 1:20 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • It sounds like a power of the wills to me!

    I would prepare his meal - what YOU want him to eat and serve it to him. If he chooses not to eat it, wrap it up and bring it out at the next meal time. If he refuses to eat still, do the same thing. Eventually... he WILL eat. He will see that you mean business and you are NOT allowed to live on candy & junk. I would cut that stuff out all together. Kids will NOT starve, they will eventually eat what you want them to eat! - then STICK TO IT! Be consistent - hide the junk or don't have it in the house at all.

    Answer by RutterMama at 1:29 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • Stop providing him with candy, pop, sugary juices and other empty calorie foods.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:11 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • okay if all he wants is junk food -- fine that is typical kid behavior. Here's the question.... do you give it to him???
    If you do, then he's not going to eat real food b/c he's not hungry. BUT... that still does not explain why he is losing weight.
    I would suggest maybe the ENSURE idea. Def. NO JUNK FOOD AT ALL. (if something is really wrong with him physically the junk food will only excacerbate the issue).
    Explain to him that you are worried b/c he's not eating healthy food and that he is losing weight (by the way are you sure he's losing weight rather than just getting taller) etc. and that you love him too much to risk him so as of right now there is ABSOLUTELY NO JUNK FOOD allowed and that he can eat all he wants of fruit, veggies, and lean meats. His treats are yogurt and/or Ensure etc.
    That way you are covering all bases. Try it and see what happens and also follow through with the drs.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 2:22 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • BTW, don't think that b/c he's 5 he won't understand my son will at the supermarket look at a cereal and say no mommy not that one b/c it has too much sugar and that one has red dye what about this one??? (mind you his sister won't she just wants the food) and he has done so since he was about 31/2-4, why b/c I tell them this is why you can't eat that fruit snack, cereal, popsical. I look at the side of the boxes and show it to them.
    THIS IS NOT A CURE ALL -- like I said my DD could care less and she'll go ahead and eat stuff she knows is not good for her, but i'm hoping with lots of repetition and examples she'll come around.
    My solution for her is -- I don't buy or keep junk food in the house at all. (There is candy but it is WAAAAAY up high) and anything I do give out I make a SUPER BIG DEAL out of it -- so they know that the 1 candy or 5 chips they got was a special treat and not for everyday.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 2:27 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • AMEN ---- NO MORE JUNK!!!

    Answer by RutterMama at 2:39 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • "They can't eat it if you don't have it." This is not my opinion of you, but when I see kids eating junk food, it's child abuse. Parents bring this stuff into their house because of their own weaknesses and then cry that all my child eats is junk.

    You have a hard road ahead of you. It will be a battle of wills... but just remember, no kid offered food ever starved. Make the change for your family, be smarter about your shopping habits. And get rid of anything with white flour, enriched wheat flour, sugar, hydrogenated oils, etc.

    Here's whats not in our house:
    Crackers from standard stores, only wholefoods.
    Milk 1% and over

    Replace with fruite, veggies, veggie chicken nuggets, fat free milk, veggie burgers, edamame, fat free yogurt.

    Answer by lynnard at 4:58 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • He can't eat it if you aren't buying it or keeping it in the house. He won't starve. He'll eat eventually.

    Answer by paralegal09 at 5:28 PM on Jul. 22, 2009

  • smoothies with fruit and milk
    fruit salad
    veggies with dip
    a variety of different meals to expose him to new things (start out with kid friendly ones - spaghetti, lasagna, cheeseburger/fry casserole, hot dog/rice/veggie mix)
    yogurt (the fun ones if you can't get him to eat regular yogurt)

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:43 PM on Jul. 22, 2009