An examination of nutritional outcomes from an intensive outpatient pediatric feeding program for children with feeding difficulties
Ramsdell, Carrie Renee
MetadataShow full item record
BACKGROUND: Children with feeding disorders consume an insufficient volume or variety of food. This can compromise growth and development and the child may require enteral nutrition. Pediatric feeding disorders have complicated etiologies and require assessment from an interdisciplinary team to address all aspects of the child's condition. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the nutritional and behavioral outcomes of an intensive outpatient program for children with feeding disorders. METHODS: Of 14 children with severe feeding disorders in the program, 12 participated for two weeks of meal sessions and were included in the study. Therapists collected data for refusal behavior, amount, and variety of intake at baseline and post-treatment. Nutritional adequacy was based on two-thirds the Dietary Reference Intakes for energy, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin E, dietary fiber, and fat. RESULTS: For all 12 participants, amount and variety significantly increased while food refusal significantly decreased. Variety of vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein, and grains also increased. Nutritional adequacy of protein and calcium increased for all 12 participants, while the other nutrients increased for seven to 11 participants. Fat as a percentage of energy was adequate for three participants at baseline and four post-treatment. DISCUSSION: Children in the program demonstrate feeding improvement, which is a vital step toward a balanced diet. Participants decrease food refusal and increase intake. It is possible for children with pediatric feeding difficulties to meet or exceed two-thirds of recommended intake for many nutrients during in-clinic sessions. Improving percentage of fat in the diet is not a practicable short-term goal. IMPLICATIONS: Clear expectation about the effects of treatment will improve parent satisfaction during the pediatric feeding program for children with feeding difficulties. This improved behavior and intake may reduce the risk of health and growth problems associated with inadequate nutrition.
- Nutritional sciences