Eating Concerns

Dear Sara,

My twelve year old daughter is extremely thin. She’s five feet six inches tall and is barely over 100 pounds. She seems tired a lot but other than that she is healthy. She is not interested in breakfast so she goes off in the morning with maybe a glass of orange juice. I don’t know what she eats at school for lunch but she usually eats pretty well at dinner time. What can I do to help her put on a little weight?

Dear Nora,
It’s probably better for your daughter to be underweight rather than overweight since as we get older our weight does tend to creep up. First of all, she probably needs a checkup with her pediatrician to make sure she’s not anemic or has some other problem like anorexia. Her tiredness could be to low blood pressure as well.

She might feel better if she ate some breakfast. She probably isn’t interested in typical breakfast fare but she might be willing to try a milkshake or a muffin. You really can’t make a child of any age eat when they don’t want to. It’s really better if you don’t make an issue of it and just offer a range of healthy food and hope that she will eat some of it.


  1. Dale McNamee says:

    I also suggest Ensure and other breakfast/supplimental type drinks to get some nutrition in her…

    Reagarding diagnosing her weight problem… Your suggestions are excellent and I would add “checking for bullying” and her “body image issues” ( does she see herself as “too fat” ? ) to the list…

  2. Not to be butting in on this conversation or
    advice but a girl who is twelve going to be a
    teenager is going through a whole bunch of
    changes not only physically but emotionally.
    Body image is a big deal and so are many other
    issues. This brings me to a delicate point.
    Perhaps she is troubled by various issues
    in her life and needs someone to confide in.
    Not all kids go running to their parents to resolve
    their problems whether it is school related,
    a disagreement with a friend, etc.

    Also, I totally agree with your post about
    Stacy. It’s a sad scenario that a parent needs
    to fill an emptiness in their lives by overcompensating for a real family
    relationship through extravagant spending.
    To a point the Mother was trying to fill
    a void like you say but she still was spending
    quality time with her daughter. That has to be
    worth something. Obviously the home
    life did not revolve around the family
    unit and that would stand to reason
    for the lack of rules or having someone
    there who cooked dinner or even cared
    to make sure homework was completed.
    And yes many kids would envy that life
    style but sometimes all that good
    could come with a down side that
    unless you knew this family you
    wouldn’t think there were any problems
    that were being masked.

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