22 answers

Healthy Way for Underweight Son to Gain Weight

I know this sounds crazy but my son needs to gain weight! In a world where most people, including myself needs to lose weight my son really needs to pack on some pounds. My son turned 10 in May. He is 56 lbs. All you see are bones. His doctor is more worried about getting his meds right for his ADHD and not so worried about his weight. The doctor said he is off the charts on weight but in height he is in the 25th percentile. He said he is literally a bag of bones. My son does love playing video games but he is pretty active. His dream is to be a pro bowler or fitness intructor! He loves to play baseketball too. I give him whole milk in the morning mixed with carnation instant breakfast for extra vitamins. I want him to gain weight in a healthy way. I had to take the scale away from him because he was always weighing himself to see if he has gained some weight. I told him he doesn't need to worry about it at his age. But I am worrying for him. When he falls and gets injured there is no cushion at all he hits bone. Crossing my fingers and knocking on wood he has not broken any bones but it is a fear of mine everday. Any advice is very appreciated. Thanks moms! P.S. today is my BDAY!!!!! Woo hoo!

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If he's on meds for ADHD, is he eating consistantly? I can always tell if my nephew has had his medicine by whether he's eating or not. He is 9 years old and very small for his age. I know the meds are a huge appetite supressant and it's hard to force them to eat when they're in their system. I personally am taking Adderall, not for ADD or ADHD, rather I take it to keep me awake. I have a sleep disorder and this med has a different affect on me. I've lost between 25-30lbs since I started it, because I just don't feel like eating (which isn't a bad thing in my case). When I do have a desire to actually eat, I'll skip it until after lunch or just not take it at all that day....then I end up eating like a horse. My nephews doctor takes him off the meds in the summer so his growth can catch up, because it also stunts his growth. Hopefully some day they will come up with a better alternative. Have you tried a gluten free diet? I've heard good results with that as well for ADHD. Good luck, and happy birthday!!

My husband is the same way (and my son is pretty skinny as well). When i say skinny, my husband is 5'10" and 120 lbs. He would love to gain weight and really hates when people remark on how skinny it is. Be careful, boys can get eating disorders too. An eating disorder is an obsession with how much you weigh and doing unhealthy things to change that.

When he was younger he would eat a lot of whole milk and ice cream. Carbs, as we all know, pack on calories, so maybe a lot of pastas and rices. Also ask the ped for a nutritionist and possibly get him on a high carb diet. Find a gym and put him on a lifting work out schedule. Building mass, not doing cardio, but lifting will definitely help gain healthy muscle.

Happy Birthday!

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Happy Birthday, J.! You're right to want your son to gain weight in a healthy way. I had the same trouble with my daughter when she was younger, and learned all sorts of strategies for adding fat and calories to her diet. You can add extra butter or cream or olive oil to his foods, depending on what it is and what you can sneak in. Adding all this fat made me a little worried about excess cholesterol, etc. I didn't want to end up with a skinny kid with heart disease! Another option, along the lines of what you're already doing, is to use a meal replacement in his whole milk in the morning. If he likes it, give it to him as an afterschool snack, too. I represent Shaklee products, and we have several options that could work. My kids love the Cinch drinks. Cinch is a weight management plan, but can also be used as a meal replacement for anyone who wants a super healthy breakfast, lunch or snack, or as a meal supplement for those trying to gain weight. For pregnant women, it's the perfect solution to the extra 250 calories needed, because it's super nutritious. Cinch shakes come in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and cafe latte. They have approx 250 calories, vitamins, minerals, 24 grams of protein, healthy fats and fiber. And as I said before, my kids love them. Sometimes, for my littler daughter, I will mix some ice cream into her cafe latte cinch and make her a mocha milkshake. That's her favorite.You can get more info from my website: www.cinchplan.com/kzmurphy. Or send me a message through mamasource if you want to know more. Good luck and have a great day!
K.

Gaining weight is related to multiple things. If he has a high metabolism, he may not be able to put on weight. He may have a natural tendency to have lean muscles and little body fat. That is not a bad thing.

If your family doctor is telling you he-she is not concerned, ask them for a referral to a specialist. This could be a hormone imbalence. Perhaps certain hormones are not being released that will allow him to grow. You probably need an endocrinologist to run tests to see what his blood levels are for multiple types of hormones. A specialist will know what to look for. A setback for those with ADHD and other disabilities is that some of those meds will stunt growth. Family doctors will not tell you this. That is something my friend had to find out on his own. Now, his kid is significantly short for his age although is ODD and ADHD are more under control.

Have they checked his Thyroid?? It could be a Hyperactive one which could be causing his weight to be on the lighter side. It wouldn't hurt. If there is a problem with it they can treat it with meds. My son went through the same thing and it was his thyroid. He is now putting on and keeping on the weight. I would also suggest a high carb diet. Best of Luck!!

Although I am older and have had 4 kids, I still have a problem gaining and maintaining weight. I drink Boost or Ensure to help keep the weight on along with a sensible diet. I was told that high fiber foods actually can help you gain some weight. I don't have any magical solution for you, but you aren't alone with this.

Good luck.

L. - mother to 4 awesome boys.

My husband, a healthy 32 year old, was only 75lbs. when he entered high school & graduated high school at 5' 5" & 110lbs. His doctor wanted to put him on growth hormones & his mother refused. My husband is now around 175-180. I guess I just wanted to let you know that everyone does grow at a different rate & I'm sure he will turn out to be a healthy, well-adjusted young man.

J. - my husband, Eric, can help you out. He's a ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer with his own training business. He trains out of his gym or can come to you too. Eric's been working with a 15 yr old for the past year and a half to pick up muscle for football. When Eric first started training him he was 97 lbs, 5'7". In a year's time Eric has helped him gain 20lbs of muscle! The best part is when he went to weight lifting for football last week. He was lifting more than all the players except a couple of the seniors (he's a freshman). He and Eric were both super excited about showing off all their hard work at football camp this fall.

Check out his website at www.waldospersonaltraining.com or send him an email at ____@____.com

Has he always been off the charts for weight, or is this a sudden change? My son is the same age and slightly lower weight wise. We went through massive amounts of testing before his second birthday because there was a significant drop in the weight gain. That drastic change in pattern is what concerns them. Is his doctor concerned at all about the weight? You should ask him if he thinks any tests are necessary. At the least they should be checking insulin and thyroid. I'd keep higher calorie yet healthy snacks available at all times, but don't just push the foods. You don't want to set up a lifetime of eating problems over this. As my son's developmental pediatrician said, better to be off the charts on the low end for weight...they rarely see kids like that anymore. And Happy Birthday!

The meds maybe why he's so small. We had issues with our youngest grandson loosing weight when he started his to the point the dr was getting nasty with Mom thinking they weren't allowing him to eat enough and threatened to take him away if he lost another pound. Seemed silly to me. He eats like a horse and could stand to loose a few pounds he was also a bit short at the time for his age. He is doing better now on a different med. Good luck to you and your family. Be careful trying to get him to eat things it could develop into bad eatiing habits. It did with me. I was rail thin when I was in primary grades and they made me eat til I felt bloated now and have been since my teen years very over weight. I know I have bad eating habits as well as no self control when it comes to certain foods.

Happy Birthday, may your new year bring you peace, joy, and some pounds on that little boy to ease your mind.

As unhealthy as it may sound it might help to pack on the carbs. Give him puddings, breads, etc. for snacks. See if he will drink things like Ensure. The chocolate one isn't bad.
We had a lot of the thin issues when we were on ADHD meds because for some reason it surpresses (sp)the appetite.
Nothing wrong with a peanut butter cookie or a slice of cake!
Does he like chips and dip or salsa? Ice cream bars? Bagels with cream cheese? Fluffer-Nutter sandwiches? Celery stuffed with peanut butter or flavored cream cheeses?
If you can find something he likes make sure, since it is summer he eats breakfast (waffles, pancakes, etc.) has a mid morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and a bedtime snack.
Good luck.

J.,
I suggest reading the article on our website under: FEB 2008 "Children's Health" Kids need that perfect balance...we all do! I encourage you to watch some of the videos and browse through the website if you have time. It is very valuable information. Please know I am here to help if you have any questions.

http://hopeshared.com/library.aspx

Sincerely,
A.

My husband is the same way (and my son is pretty skinny as well). When i say skinny, my husband is 5'10" and 120 lbs. He would love to gain weight and really hates when people remark on how skinny it is. Be careful, boys can get eating disorders too. An eating disorder is an obsession with how much you weigh and doing unhealthy things to change that.

When he was younger he would eat a lot of whole milk and ice cream. Carbs, as we all know, pack on calories, so maybe a lot of pastas and rices. Also ask the ped for a nutritionist and possibly get him on a high carb diet. Find a gym and put him on a lifting work out schedule. Building mass, not doing cardio, but lifting will definitely help gain healthy muscle.

Happy Birthday!

My son is 7 and has the same problem with wt. due to the ADHD meds he takes. We found a powder supplement called Duocal. It will help add pounds in a healthy way. I would usually mix it with his milk shake at night. If insurance will not pay for it I would go to GNC and ask them for something similar. My friend used a GNC brand bulking supplement that she said came in a big container. Hope this helps.

Happy Birthday! I am also 29 for at least a couple more months.
I would gladly talk to you by phone or e-mail if you would like to contact me for more info. But I have a couple of suggestions that I know will help him with his weight issue and could possibly help with the ADHD. But as far as the weight goes - Shaklee Meal Shakes, Physique or Cinch or a combo. All these products are natural, no artificial sweeteners and taste great so he will actually want to eat them. I would also add lots of nuts to his diet (if he will eat them). They may also help with bone density. Here are some links to help, but please do contact me if you would like to talk this through.
http://www.shaklee.net/gemsoffire/product/20322 Comes in vanilaa too.
http://www.shaklee.net/gemsoffire/product/20306
http://www.shaklee.net/gemsoffire/product/20336 comes in multiple flavors
You can get rebates that help cover the cost as well.

Happy Birthday!

Don't worry about your "bony" son. I had one too. He was so skinny that my mother would constantly ask if I was feeding him. I happened to get some baby pictures of my son's father from my mother-in-law. He looked like one of those ads for starving children. My skinny son played soccer for years with no broken bones--I guess being so light made him fast (smile).

Anyway, make sure you give you son a good balanced diet with veggies and lots of protein rich foods: chicken, fish,beans, cheese, nuts, etc. and as long as your doctor says he's healthy don't worry.

My son is 22 now and he's still slim and muscular and very handsome. Don't worry your son will get there too!

Happy B-day J.,

It seems like your Dr. would have tol dyou to start feeding him pedia-sure or Ensure. One of them is packed with callories and nutriets. Carnation instant breakfast sounds junky and full of calories too- but maybe you can add lots of the carbs and they rest of the stuff that the world knows they need to avoid. Like Pastas, breads, rice, potatos, you know, starchy stuff. Maybe he can start to do some weight lifting- to build muscle. I say that- because you explained that there is no cusion, and he is a "bag of bones."....Is there any concern that something is wrong with his muscle formation? I would imagine he is a normal boy- just slow to fill out, and will probably end up taller and bulky when his body is ready.

Good luck,

A.

Sorry, no weight gain advice except to have him drink whole milk to increase calories.
Happy Birthday. Hope you have a great one!
R.

first off happy birthday young lady!!! second off if your son is taking meds for adhd and the med is ritalin get him off that now.. in fact too many people are quick to say adhd
when it is really something else... one of the side affects of ritalin is loss of appetite.. and my son walked around like a zombie..his real problem was reading things differently. dexlexia..K.

I can relate. My 12 yr. old daughter had those issues too, but cannot have most of the suggested items due to a corn allergy. My suggestions: Buy him 2% or whole milk, not fat free. Encourage him to add carnation instant breakfast to it (for extra protein and calories) or Ovaltine. Have him eat more smaller meals per day, explaining that the ADHD meds tell his brain he is full, but he has not eaten as much as he can. Even three or four more bites per meal helps. Let him eat healthy, but high calorie snacks once his meds have wore off, explaining to him he may not be able to eat like this the rest of his life :) My daughter likes ice cream, so she get full fat, full flavor bryers ice cream s a treat. She has gained 10 lbs. and grown 1.5 inches in the last 6 months.
You can add Ensure or Pediasure as a mid-morning or afternoon snack, if he will drink it, maybe with graham crackers and peanut butter.
Please write to me privately if you want to compare ADHD meds - some do not affect the appetite as much as others do.

If he's on meds for ADHD, is he eating consistantly? I can always tell if my nephew has had his medicine by whether he's eating or not. He is 9 years old and very small for his age. I know the meds are a huge appetite supressant and it's hard to force them to eat when they're in their system. I personally am taking Adderall, not for ADD or ADHD, rather I take it to keep me awake. I have a sleep disorder and this med has a different affect on me. I've lost between 25-30lbs since I started it, because I just don't feel like eating (which isn't a bad thing in my case). When I do have a desire to actually eat, I'll skip it until after lunch or just not take it at all that day....then I end up eating like a horse. My nephews doctor takes him off the meds in the summer so his growth can catch up, because it also stunts his growth. Hopefully some day they will come up with a better alternative. Have you tried a gluten free diet? I've heard good results with that as well for ADHD. Good luck, and happy birthday!!

I have 2 boys - one is 5'9" and weighs 112 pounds. His BMI is 7. I don't worry about his weight. He has always been thin. My father was like that (20 years old 6 feet tall and weighed 125 pounds) Your son will fill out when he's about 35 and will probably never worry about his weight. My brothers and nephews are the same way. Your son might be thin because that's his genetic makeup. Of course the ADHD meds can have an impact too. My younger son lost 10 pounds taking adderall, so I know what you mean. He switched to vyvanse and he needs to eat a huge breakfast before he takes his medication since he's not that hungry at lunch. He has gained back all the weight he lost and is fine (he only weighs 80 pounds and is almost 13). My son that is 16, weighed 60 pounds when he was 10, and he is fine. As long as your son eats well, I wouldn't worry at all. It doesn't sound like your doctor is concerned. You can always make him lots of milk shakes. My nephew's dr told him to do that.

I'm not sure what the name of it is but I know that my aunt's doctor sent her to GNC for a powder that she could mix into her son's food and put in his milk that would add about 100 calories per serving. At the time her son was only in the 5th percentile for his age in weight and they've always had trouble getting him to eat anything. I know it was safe for children and if describe it to the sales clerk they should be able to help you find it. They also replaced his drink with a can of Boost or Ensure at lunchtime to achieve the same goal. He's still not as big as the other kids his age but he's at least moved up from the bottom of the scale.

What about adding prtein shakes to his diet? I would ask the Dr. first but they have weight gaining protein shakes. You can get a container of protein powder at Walmart but it is cheaper online. If you dont know where to look go to a local gym, ask what they offer the clients, and look it up at home. Its way to expensive to buy at the gym. Just a thought!
SZ

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