Outpatient Nutrition Management of the Neurologically Impaired Child

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The nutrition care of children who are neurologically impaired is a challenge for the nutrition care team. Many factors should be considered in the assessment and development of a nutrition plan. That these children can have significant abnormalities in nutrition status, growth, and body composition should be kept in mind. Energy needs are often hard to assess. For this reason, monitoring of weight status over time provides the best indicator of energy requirements. Protein needs are not increased for the healthy child who is neurologically impaired. Nutrition rehabilitation usually corrects micronutrient deficiencies when they are found. Nutrition assessment is a key component of the care of these children. Height assessment can be difficult, and alternative measures of height should be used in the evaluation of growth. For optimal care, management should be done by a multidisciplinary team including a registered dietitian. Improved nutrition status results in improved health outcomes. (Nutr Clin Pract. 2008;23:597–607)

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