DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Failure to thrive. A four month old baby diagnosed with the disorder "failure to thrive" of unknown cause. The infant is crying. Its abdomen is dis- tended and its limbs appear thin and malnourished. Failure to thrive is usually assessed by comparing the rate at which a baby gains weight with a standardized growth chart. Undernourishment may be due to parental neglect, inadequate diet, or an unstable family background. Or it may be due to a serious physical disorder such as congenital heart disease, kidney failure, or malabsorption. Close observation of the baby for a week or two usually reveals the cause.
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