Encyclopedia Home / F / Failure to thrive

Failure to thrive

  • Alternative Names

    Growth failure; FTT


    The treatment depends on the cause of the delayed growth and development. Delayed growth due to nutritional factors can be resolved by educating the parents to provide a well-balanced diet.

    If psychosocial factors are involved, treatment should include improving the family dynamics and living conditions. Parental attitudes and behavior may contribute to a child's problems and need to be examined. In many cases, a child may need to be hospitalized initially to focus on implementation of a comprehensive medical, behavioral, and psychosocial treatment plan.

    Do not give your child dietary supplements like Boost or Ensure without consulting your physician first.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    If the period of failure to thrive has been short, and the cause is determined and can be corrected, normal growth and development will resume. If failure to thrive is prolonged, the effects may be long lasting, and normal growth and development may not be achieved.


    Permanent mental, emotional, or physical delays can occur.

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your child does not seem to be developing normally.