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Old 12-11-2012, 02:29 PM   #1
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My 8 year-old son is quite underweight (25th percentile) due to medication that he takes for ADHD and ODD. I am concerned. I was thinking of trying some milkshakes to help him gain some weight. He is just so skinny. Would milkshakes help? Are there supplements that I can put in the shakes to encourage weight gain so he looks healthier? Does anyone have any suggestions? He doesn't take meds on the weekends, we just deal with him being a bit out of hand because we don't want his appetite needlessly suppressed.

Please, no debate about whether or not he should be on meds for ADHD. I am looking for suggestions to help him gain weight in a healthy way. Thanks!

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Old 12-11-2012, 02:34 PM   #2
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Re: My son is underweight

50th percentile is average, that doesn't mean that 25th percentile is quite underweight! Has he lost a lot of weight since starting the meds?
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Delaney21
50th percentile is average, that doesn't mean that 25th percentile is quite underweight! Has he lost a lot of weight since starting the meds?
It's more like he's grown taller without gaining weight since starting the meds. He did lose weight since his last appointment, though. His doctor is concerned, too. He looks unhealthy. All his ribs are visible, as is his whole spine.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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Re: My son is underweight

Your son may be just fine. My son is not on any extra meds and he is about the 25th percentile as well. I can count his ribs and he looks very thin, but he is developmentally on track or above and eats fine at meals. Please don't feel that you have to start cramming food down his throat to make him gain weight. Now, if he is not eating a healthy amount it may be cause for concern, but if he is he is probably just fine.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:55 PM   #5
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My kids are still little but they are all skinny/tiny and I agree, the percentile is not important. Not every kid can be 50th percentile -- variation is inherent in any normal curve distribution. But him losing weight while growing taller would concern me, too. My suggestion would be to make sure he's not filling up on cow's milk and give him toast with butter, full-fat yogurt and cheese, etc. Maybe look into coconut oil for cooking? It has a lot of sat fat (MCFAs). Does he have food aversions? You can also blend avocados into the smoothies. I'm not a big fan of artificial supplements. Maybe short-term if he was severely underweight or losing a lot of weight rapidly, but I would personally try to use whole foods first. Did your doc consider adjusting his meds or refer you to a nutritionist?
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:03 PM   #6
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Re: My son is underweight

because the doctor is concerned - you should definitely try and help.

I was a tiny child, I know it can be normal, but definitely trust your doctor in this situation.

anyways.. I needed to gain weight after a surgery and I drank a boost (or a juice equivalent) with every meal. That helped a ton. Avocados are great, so pull out some chips and guacamole or if he'll eat plain avocado, you can add those to his sandwiches, salads, etc.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:07 PM   #7
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:09 PM   #8
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Re: My son is underweight

My oldest has ADD and took focalin for a few years- we didn't feel he was gaining/growing as well as he should so after taking him off for the summer (and a massive growth spurt!) we decided to change meds and started Concerta. He is gaining/growing well so far and it's been 3 1/2 months. We don't give him meds on non school days and will continue to take him off during summers.
My second son is super skinny and doesn't take meds and he eats like he has a hollow leg- he's tall for his age though and is healthy so I don't worry much.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:26 PM   #9
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Re: My son is underweight

I would make sure that what he does eat is densly packed with calories.

Does he take his medication before breakfast? If so, is there a way to put it off until after? When does it wear off? Does he take a second dose? If so, is there a way to get some good food into him between his first and second doses?
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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Re: My son is underweight

Only one of my 3 is above the 25th percentile (30th ), so that alone would not bother me.

Also growing taller without gaining weight is very common as kids go through growth spurts, it takes a while to catch up.

Weight loss is another thing, I would try and get him to eat lots of healthy fats, avocado, real butter, coconut oil in everything before resorting to something unhealthy like milkshakes.

What does your dr suggest for him to gain weight?
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