My 10 Yr Old Wont Eat Weighs 60 Lbs

Updated on January 03, 2014
H.O. asks from Woodinville, WA
15 answers

my daughter is 10 she weighs 59-60 lbs she has severe ADHD and she doesn't really eat she either says I don't want that is ucky
or I'm not hungry now sometimes she will eat but not much and lately she doesn't even eat 1/2 of her plate. Now I don't do the whole okay if you don't want this then find something you do want because I don't think its right. I tell her and her 2 siblings that they will have whats for dinner or nothing at all so when I dish her up she says I don't want that I send her to bed and tell her when she is hungry to let me know a while later after everyones done eating she will say she is hungry and I will pull out her food and get ready to heat it up she said I don't want that I tell her that that is what was made so that is what she will eat but she wil still refuse and go to sllep with out dinner now there have been time where I maker her eat her dinner for breakfast but not a lot but it seems that lately she wont eat anything she will go ever 24 hours before I give in and make her something she wants so that I know she has food in her stomach has anyone ever gone through this who has any ideas that can help she sees her doc in a couple days but I am looking for any help I can get

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answers from Anchorage on

Well, for starters 60 pounds is not that unusual for a 10 year old, my 10 year old son weighs 63 pounds and is normal for his age and height.

I also am not one to cater to picky eating. I do, however, always allow fruit as a free food. If they are hungry after dinner (even if they do not eat much) they are always welcome to a piece of fresh fruit. I don't force them to eat what I make (and would never try to force it for breakfast, that is just testing their will and they will never give in) although I do insist they try everything on their plate. I think the quickest way to create issues with food and eating is to make food an issue by demanding they eat things they don't like or that they continue eating when they are not hungry.

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answers from Sacramento on

It sounds like she's extremely picky? Look into a condition called Selective Eating Disorder. She may also have a different type of eating disorder. They do happen this young.

Our 10-year-old son (who coincidentally has severe ADHD) is dealing with SED. It got so extreme he was at 57 lbs. and had to go through an eating disorder program to get well. He would only eat a handful of foods and then would just eat tiny amounts. The "kids won't starve themselves" adage was NOT true. He would and did. He had to go on home hospitalization and go through treatment with Kaiser's eating disorder program to get well. He's now at 75 lbs. We got him through it, even with him still on his essential ADHD medication.

You may have to completely change your approach with meals. If it's a disorder like our son's, you WILL need to make her custom meals. We learned, too, in working with the eating disorder nutritionist not to obsess about nutrition and focus more on getting in calories and fat. We had to adopt a completely new mindset to help him.

Good luck!

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answers from Springfield on

I think you're being completely ridiculous. Some people are just picky eaters. Why are you making food a battle? As long as she eats healthy food, why do you care what foods she eats?

I am a picky eater. Had I not been allowed to eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner when I didn't like what was made, I would probably have spent my allowance buying junk food and hiding it in my room so that I would have something to eat when I didn't like dinner. That's what I did when I went to camp!

Don't make food a battle. Please don't set her up for a lifetime of poor eating habits.

Work with her. What does she like to eat? What options would you be ok with? Are there some acceptable options that she can make herself when she doesn't like what you're cooking? Can she be a bigger part of the meal planning?

I really think you need to reconsider your stance on this issue. She has made it very clear to you that she would rather eat nothing for 24 hours than eat what you are making. This is not normal! But this is what she is willing to do.

Are you sure you don't want to reconsider?

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Why are you teaching her that food is punishment? You need to stop focusing on food and allow her to eat when she feels like it and let her fix what she wants.

She will NOT eat what you fixed her if she gets hungry enough, she WILL end up in the hospital with severe dehydration and malnutrition. You'll be the one they blame. I know you love her and only want what's best for her but being a dictator at meal time does NOT teach her anything. It only makes her dig her heels in more.

So back off, tell her if she doesn't like it then she can fix herself a PB&J or a TV dinner. Something she likes and will eat. She needs all the calories she can get.

If you don't want her to have an eating disorder as an adult then stop, do NOT do anything with food any more. Don't reward her with food, don't punish her over her food choices, just food is food and not anything else.

My granddaughter has geographic tongue and sometimes she can eat a bite of mac n cheese that she normally loves and she'll gag and puke for half an hour. Then a week later she may be able to eat it again. She only eats meat, pasta, plain rice, and breads.

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answers from Austin on

Is she on any medication for ADHD? Some of those medications can really mess with a child's appetite....

Best thing.... check with the doctor.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I was thinking about this a lot, partly because you really do remind me so much of my father, but I was trying to think about WHY she's refusing to eat. If she's hungry but is telling you that she doesn't like what's being served you need to find out WHY if you don't already know. What if it's not just about "picky eating?" What if it's not just a power struggle?

I don't know why I didn't suggest this before, but many people that are labeled as problem eaters or picky eaters are Selective Eaters because they don't have a choice in their finickiness and they can't control it. And Selective Eating can be due to a number of things, which include being a Super Taster or having tactile sensory problems in the mouth. Foods she used to like may taste horrible now. Changing hormones can have a hand in this. Ten years old is the beginning of hormone changes even if you can't see it starting yet.

I really think that your daughter needs a completely different approach to food from you. And I think that maybe you should talk with her and let her know you're concerned about HER and not about the food. Ask her what the problems with food actually are and listen to her. Tell her you were thinking about getting a specialist to check her out to see if she's having sensory problems. ESPECIALLY since she has ADHD. Sensory Processing Disorder is very common with ADHD... and maybe she also has a touch of ODD (Oppositional Defiance). If she sees a pediatric neurologist for the ADHD and medication management then ask the doctor to evaluate her for Sensory Processing Disorder. Just a thought.


My father approached meals as you do, and I became anorexic in high school and college. Since having ever-progressive digestive problems with my Fibromyalgia, I've been having problems with the anorexia again. Because it's easy to relapse and not realize I'm even doing it. Except as an adult, since I don't get enough fat or calories, I can't lose weight easily. I need fat and calories and when I get enough food... food I enjoy that doesn't exacerbate my digestive issues... I go back to a healthy weight (and that's what's happening now. I'm losing weight. I know that my ability to ignore food without even thinking about it... my ability to ignore hunger for days sometimes... is directly related to my dad's approach to food which, as I said, is identical to yours.

It kills him even now when an adult or child alike doesn't "clean their plate." If he puts it there, it must be eaten whether you like it or not.

Now. I expect my children to eat what I make for meals but I always make sure to include things that I know they like. If there's a new food or something I anticipate that they won't like then I make certain there's something they will like that they can choose. I do expect them to try the new foods, and I expect them to taste test the foods they claim to dislike in case their tastes have changed (or I've prepared the offensive food differently and that's the way they decide they like it).

If they're not hungry at meal time, I do not prepare them a plate. At meals I let them prepare their own plates. I warn them to take smaller servings than they think they can eat because I'd rather they finish that and go back for seconds. I encourage them to take small portions.

But if they don't eat at all, or they eat only what they like, and are hungry later then they know that there are healthy options that won't need to be cooked later on. I don't whip out the plate that has old food on it unless they're the ones that wrapped it up and planned on eating it later. I'm trying to avoid disordered eating for them. {in other words, no clean your plate rule. I want them to eat until they're full, I don't want them to ignore the full feeling and teach them to overeat. That teaches a whole different disordered eating that leads to obesity and diabetes}

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answers from Washington DC on

You both are being stubborn, and in the end you both are losing. Granted a kid won't starve going without dinner for 1 night, but when they already didn't really eat anything because they didn't like breakfast, and they didn't really eat because they didn't like lunch, you end up with her 'not really' eating for more than a day, and that isn't healthy.

I agree with the suggestion of having her help plan the meals. We don't do individual meals, but we do make adjustments.
- My 7y doesn't like spaghetti, but will eat buttered noodles, so we dish her up some before we mix the sauce in.
- My 7y and I don't like hamburger helper, so we make 2 hamburgers before we add the rest to the hamburger helper.

- My kids always have yogurt and cereal as food/meal options.
- When they do agree to eat what is served, we don't force them to clean the plate.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If she is on meds, it is possible that the meds can lessen her hunger and change the way things taste. When she says something is "ucky", ask her why. Why does she think it is? Is it the taste, does it taste sour for her or bitter? Is it the texture? I agree with AKMOM with allowing fruits and veggies for snack even if they do not finish dinner. At least they get something healthy in them.

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answers from Columbus on

First of all, my almost 12 year old is only a little bigger than she is. She's not that far out of the norm in my world.

Second, have you involved her at all in making and planning meals? I agree that you shouldn't make separate meals for her, but if she is part of the planning and cooking process, she'll be more interested in eating and mealtime will be more successful. Plus, she will learn from it.

Third, I agree with checking her medication - if she has severe ADHD, I assume that means you are medicating her. Those medicines can severely impact appetite. Other than that and impulsivity, I don't see how the ADHD is relevant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Is this a picky eater or is it now a form of anorexia? Sometimes when food is all a child can control, it becomes something they use to have some control in their life. You may want to get her evaluated by the pediatrician. Start with a routine physical and discuss your concerns with him/her.

If it is just picky eating, get her involved. Do something she might like with something she should at least try. My DD doesn't like veggies unless they are raw and doesn't like sauces. So we keep sauce on the side and don't cook her broccoli. Would small changes make it less of a battle?

My SS is also allergic to legumes and that was not something we knew about until he was much older. In the last year, he's even had surgery on his esophagus. So it wasn't that he was picky because he was stubborn, but picky because of how he felt or how his throat worked.

Tonight we are having chili. My 5 yr old will not eat mixed foods (chili, pizza, whatever). She will get mac and cheese, leftovers from last night's veggie tray, fruit and milk. I still pick her food but it's not worth fighting her on it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Be careful. I'm with you on not allowing kids to dictate meals. But, if she tells a teacher that she is sent to bed hungry, CPS will be all over you. Instead, keep loads of oranges and apples around, they ripe slower than peaches and bananas. Stock up on nuts, cheeses, breads.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

She will eat eventually, unless she has a serious eating disorder, her body wont let her starve herself, make sure there always cut up veggies or fruits, or other easy foods that she can just open up the fridge or cupboard and eat when she gets hungry. If it continues, and she looses 10 pounds (approx.) take her to her doctor. Or you can let her help make dinner, and shop, that way she can choose what she wants to eat. Also try making it a game, blindfold the kids and your husband and make dinner (small amounts of several foods she doesnt usually like, and several she does, and get them all to try it without seeing it (or the packaging before hand). You could try getting her to plug her nose if she really really doesnt like the taste smell and taste are strongly related.



answers from Salt Lake City on

One of my friends went through this with her daughter last year. The child has sensory integration issues. They were able to get past it with the help of an occupational therapist. If part of her problem is not enjoying the textures/smells/feeling of food, perhaps this would be helpful for your child as well.

It sounds like this may be becoming a power issue between you two. If she already sees a therapist for help dealing with her ADHD, he/she may also be able to help both of you with this.

One strategy my friend used successfully with her daughter was to make eating something calorie and protein rich a prerequisite for getting to eat something she wanted to eat or to do. Also, to get her to stay at the table, my friend allowed her daughter to do some other activity while eating as long as she kept eating. In their case, being allowed to read at the table helped, because it kept her daughter in her chair long enough to get some food down, and seemed to distract her from noticing the parts of eating she found disagreeable. You know your child, so you know best whether these strategies would help you.



answers from Indianapolis on

Our only solution was to give our kid weight-lifter weightgain shakes with choc ice cream just before bed. She gained 7lbs in 3 weeks! Good luck.



answers from Kansas City on

Kids and eating...ugh! I feel your pain! I wouldn't worry about her size. I have two nieces that are 10 and they probably weigh around that (maybe even a few pounds less). Maybe she's just small.

But, you should be concerned about her eating habits. My oldest (8 year old boy) is a very picky eater...I'll spare you the details. I feel like it is a constant battle and we're always compromising.

I don't have any real advice. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone and I'm glad you're taking her to see a doctor:)

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