Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is it common for young children to not want food?"


How common is it for young children to get turned off of food entirely? My two year old girl doesn't eat so little that she's going to starve, but she just never seems to eat enough for a healthy, growing child. I'd say this phase began a few months ago. Is this normal?


Feeding young children is sometimes difficult, and parents often have many questions. The doctor who is best qualified to discuss this issue with you at length is your pediatrician. The first step in evaluating whether a child is eating enough is to determine if she is growing.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Pediatricians near you

Your doctor can do this by looking at her growth curves. Sometimes children are eating plenty for growth, although it seems to adults as if it is too little. Other things you can do to improve your child's appetite include limiting grazing behavior. Small children often snack continually throughout the day, which means they are never hungry. Limiting snacks and focusing on meals can help this. Another very common problem is for children to fill up on liquids such as water, juice, and milk. Since their stomachs are full of the liquids they do not demonstrate an interest in eating solid foods. Rarely, there can be an underlying medical problem that causes decreased appetite, such as constipation or a food allergy. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your child's specific condition will require a physical examination by her personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with her pediatrician is highly recommended.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.