Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr.  2019 Mar;22(2):181-188. 10.5223/pghn.2019.22.2.181.

Micronutrients Are Not Deficient in Children with Nonorganic Failure to Thrive

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Severance Pediatric IBD Research Group, Severance Children's Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Inadequate calorie intake is one of the most important causes of nonorganic failure to thrive (NOFTT) and is thought to lead to multiple micronutrient deficiencies. However, there have been few studies on NOFTT and micronutrients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the micronutrient status of children with NOFTT.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study in 161 children (106 with NOFTT and 55 health controls) at a single institution. Data on weight for age, height for age, body mass index, and biochemical parameters, indicating the children's nutritional and micronutrient status were reviewed via electronic medical records, and the two groups were compared.
Except inorganic phosphate levels, no statistically significant differences were seen in the laboratory findings indicating the children's nutritional and micronutrient status; notably, the inorganic phosphate levels were within the normal range in both groups. We then compared the severe NOFTT (weight for age below the first percentile) and control groups; however, no statistically significant differences were seen for any of the measured parameters.
Most children with NOFTT in this study had normal micronutrient levels and other laboratory findings. Therefore, element deficiencies should not be considered a natural consequence of NOFTT or in healthy children. Close monitoring and additional evaluations are needed.


Failure to thrive; Micronutrient

MeSH Terms

Body Mass Index
Cohort Studies
Electronic Health Records
Failure to Thrive*
Reference Values
Retrospective Studies


  • Fig. 1 Algorithm for selecting patients. NOFTT: nonorganic failure to thrive.


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