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Constant overeating in children and its treatment - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Growth and Development in Children
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1722 Questions
User :   Hi, I am very concerned about my 2.5 year old daughter. Almost since birth she has had an obsession with food and eating. Whilst I am lucky that she enjoys all kinds of foods and thus have the ability to provide her with a nutitious and balanced diet, she does not ever seem to be satisfied.
She has never turned down food and requests food, constantly. She is conpletely fixated on any food she can see and is unable to forget about it until it has all been consumed. This afftects her enjoyment of other activites as even when we are out at the park, other childrens birthday parties etc. she will only focus on the food around her.
I have tested her to see whether she will become full and leave any food, but she proceeded to eat a kilogram of carrots, 2 apples, a punnet of tomatoes, a packet of rice crackers and then her full lunch straight away. An hour later she woke up crying saying she was hungry.
I have been to numerous paediatricians without any result. Please help me! I am concerned it may be Prader Willi Syndrome, although she was never hypotonic at birth nor does she seems to have any mental deficiencies (seems to be very bright).
She is very short (although myself and my family are very tall and her father is average height with his family being tall also) and has a speech delay.
This food issue is becoming a nightmare for the whole family. We can not go out with out a massive tantrum over food. Unfortunately, food is everywhere and she can not turn her attention to anything else if it is within her eyesight.
Both my husband and myself have a weight battles throughout our lives. My weight is now stable and healthy, and my husband is working on his successfully. Is a large appetite hereditary? I wonder if it is genetic to not feel full?
Thank you for your time.
A very scared mother.
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   Let me read your query
Doctor :   Does she have any other problems other XXXXXXXX this?
Doctor :   *than
User :   Just a speech delay which seems to be progressing well after some therapy.
Doctor :   Since when is she having this problem?
Doctor :   Of overeating
User :   She was a large baby at birth (4.02kg) and began gaining 500grams a week after birth, so it seems as though she ate a lot from birth and it has just progressively gotten worse since then.
Doctor :   Is there any family history of any genetic disorder?
User :   Not that I'm aware of, but I wouldn't think so.
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   There are many causes of overeating in children as anxiety, attention seeking disorder, worm infestation etc
Doctor :   It can also be some hormonal imbalance or raised sugar
User :   Would it be possible for a child so young to have anxiety and cause her to seek food as a comfort? She seems ocd about eating every last crumb. She has had blood tests that have all come back negative for hormonal imbabalances.
Doctor :   Did you ever get her investigations done as Hormonal evaluations or get her deworming done?
Doctor :   Yes a child can have anxiety.
Doctor :   Was her genetic testing for Prader Willi syndrome done?
Doctor :   Prader-Willi Syndrome is diagnosed using genetic testing, in children with hypotonia, or very low muscle tone.
User :   She gets worming tablets every few months. The doctor will not test for prader willi and he says since there was no hypotonia is it not possible. I am not convinced though. She was strong from birth, no hypotonia. walked at 13 months, sat at 6 months, crawled at 9 months.
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Does she have increased sleep also?
User :   She has always slept a lot. slept 12 hours a night from around 7 weeks old. Now sleeps around 11 hours a night with about a hour during the day.
Doctor :   I will suggest you to get her complete investigations done along with genetic tests done to evaluate the problem.
Doctor :   IF hypotonia is not there its not confirmed that she cannot have Prader willi syndrome
Doctor :   Also there could be any other genetic defect.
Doctor :   Try to give her low calorie food and balanced diet.
User :   Have you seen any cases of Prader willi without hypotonia and nromal intelligence?
Doctor :   Keep food away from her sight
Doctor :   It could be possible.
Doctor :   Also there could be Kleine-Levin Syndrome
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