Improving Childhood Nutrition with a Multidisciplinary Approach

Improving Childhood Nutrition with a Multidisciplinary Approach

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A look at how RDs, nutritionists, psychologists, and parents can help with childhood nutrition 

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MAY. 13, 2021   2 MIN. READ

By: Karyn Wulf MD, MPH, Pediatric Medical Director at Abbott.

When it comes to assessing childhood nutrition, it can be more complex than simply making sure your kid eats his or her vegetables. Key outcomes of good childhood nutrition aren’t just linear growth or weight gain, but also includes organ and brain development. Nutritional limitation in any of those areas may cause long-term problems with optimal growth and development. That’s why primary care physicians should consider a team approach when treating kids who are falling behind on growth. 

Dietitians, psychologists and parents can each play important roles in addressing childhood nutrition challenges. Together, this team can work to understand why a child isn’t getting the nutrition they need and develop a plan to get them back on track.

So, what does a multidisciplinary approach look like and how can it improve childhood nutrition?

  • Dietitians can take a detailed dietary history to help identify why a kid might not be getting the nutrients needed and develop an eating plan to help address some of those gaps. The meal plan developed by the dietitian will incorporate the nutrients children need to grow and develop while considering the family and child’s preferences.
  • Psychologists may also help support parents and address some of negative impacts feeding difficulties have on family dynamics. Psychologists will typically complete a psychological analysis to help determine the various factors impacting a kid’s will to eat. Their main goal is to enable parents and families to make mealtimes as positive and stress free as possible through education and resources.
  • Parents are at the heart of any multidisciplinary approach to feeding difficulties. It’s important to remember to listen to them, work with them to find a solution that works best for the family and take the time to ensure they have the right resources and tools to help their kid. 

Feeding difficulties can be a challenge to overcome for parents and kids. However, partnering with experts to create an actionable plan demonstrates how big of an impact taking a team approach can make.