Impact of Underweight on Child Development

At the age of development, body weight is an important indicator of a child's health and development, whether walking normally or not.

Healthy children usually have the ideal body weight. The ideal body weight can be achieved of course with good nutrition.

Children are considered to have good nutrition and normal growth if age is followed by weight gain according to international standards set by the World Health Organization, WHO.

However, there are still some children who are underweight. Lack of weight in children needs serious attention so when the child's weight is below ideal or stagnant for a long time, immediately consult a pediatrician or a pediatrician with a sub-specialist in child development.

The reason is, being underweight is at risk of experiencing various health problems and growth disorders, among them

Get sick easily or get infections

The study found a link between increased infections and being underweight. Malnutrition can lead to decreased immune function and also cause children to become thin

The increased risk of infection certainly affects children's health. Children will get sick easily and the recovery is likely to take longer than children who have an ideal body weight. It is therefore not surprising that WHO states that malnourished children, as reflected by underweight, increase the risk of death.

Late development

Developmental delay can be seen in underweight children, especially children under the age of 3, at which time the brain develops rapidly. The brain needs nutrients to develop properly. Underweight children may be deprived of essential nutrients due to malnutrition and malabsorption, which can affect brain development and cause delays in developmental phases. 

Affect cognitive and academic achievement

Based on the research, children who are underweight, have lower cognitive levels and academic achievement scores at school age, than children of normal weight. 

Stunted physical growth

In the same study, it was also seen that children who had problems with underweight showed a lower physical size than children with ideal body weight.

To increase children's weight, you need to improve their nutritional intake by adopting a nutritionally balanced diet. If necessary, you can provide a nutrient-dense formula that provides 1.5 kcal / ml of energy to increase the child's weight and nutritional status. The results of clinical trials prove that the intake of nutrient-dense formulas can increase children's weight in 4 weeks. 


- Dobner J., and Kaser S. Body mass index and the risk of infection-from underweight to obesity. .clinical Microbiology and Infection. 2018; 24 (1): 24-8.

- Abubakar A, et al. Children at risk for developmental delay can be recognized by stunting, being underweight, ill health, little maternal schooling or high gravidity. .journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2010; 51 (6): 652-9.

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