Question from Somer:
My 7 year old son weighs only 50 pounds and I am very concerned. He is very active in sports and just in general we are outside or doing something everyday. He has what I think is a lot of muscle for a boy his age. His pediatrician says it’s because he is active but he so skinny he says his bones hurt all the time. Is there something I can do or vitamins I can give him that will help? Thank you very much.
Answer from: Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND, our contributing Nutritionist. If you want to learn more, please follow Keith’s twitter @KeithAyoob
I’m not sure how tall your son is but 50 pounds for a 7-year-old or average height is about the right weight. He may have more muscle and thus less fat, because he’s physically active in sports, so he looks a bit different because his weight is concentrated in different places (where he needs it!). Not sure about his bones hurting, unless he’s having a bit of a growth spurt and what he’s feeling are literally “growing pains” that happen when bones expand. This can often be more noticeable at night. His pediatrician isn’t worried, and that’s a great sign. If his appetite is good, he’s probably finding that he’s more interested in physical activity than in sedentary things and “can’t get enough” of those things he likes doing. A few healthful weight-gain foods are these: nut and dried fruit mixes are excellent for providing loads of nutrients with extra calories. Ditto peanut butter but try almond butter on whole-grain crackers or bread, or even spread onto apple slices for a good boost of nutrition and calories. Add nut butters to smoothies as well. Take advantage of full-fat dairy whole milk, full-fat Greek yogurt, cheese) for high-protein nutrition. After physical activity, flavored milk actually rehydrates athletes and helps repair muscle. And who doesn’t like cheese? Grate it and add it to his vegetables, salads, potatoes, melt it on bread, and on and on. Above all, make sure he eats breakfast and step it up here. Leftovers from last night’s dinner, or a quick omelet or scrambled eggs or grilled cheese can fill out his breakfast instead of — or in addition to — his cereal and milk. Follow-up with his pediatrician in a few months after trying some of these and see where he is. Chances are he’ll feel fine and enjoy his new nutrition boosters.
Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND
Associate Clinical Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1165 Morris Park Ave. 4th Floor
Bronx, NY 10461
718-430-3970 ext. 6412