Can't eat - won't eat? Conference on children with feeding difficulties

Issued: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 00:00:00 GMT

One in four children is said to have some form of feeding difficulty during infancy and this number rises sharply to one in two among those who are developmentally delayed and severely disabled.

Over 200 health professionals, special needs teachers and carers from throughout the UK will attend a conference on "Children with Feeding Difficulties", organised by the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Glasgow, on Friday 23rd March 2001.

Children's feeding problems have many causes and take many forms. Research has shown impaired feeding can result in weight loss, malnutrition, growth retardation, intellectual deficit and can increase the child's susceptibility to illness. Feeding problems can include food refusal, limited oral consumption, vomiting, excess meal duration and disruptive meal times.

One of the conference speakers, Lorna Russell, of Yorkhill Hospital says "Until now public focus has largely been on the problems of obese children, but the problem of growing numbers of children who have feeding difficulties also needs to be addressed. This conference will bring together some of the leading experts who deal with feeding problems and will highlight the needs of children with feeding difficulties."

Key speakers will include:

* Dr Peter B Sullivan of the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford who will be providing the study results from the first ever study of the feeding, gastrointestinal and nutritional problems encountered by disabled children.

* Dr Adrian Thomas from Booth Hall Hospital, Manchester will highlight the problems and prevalence of under-nutrition in children

* Dr Catherine Dendy from Great Ormond Street Hospital will provide an overview on the psychological aspects of feeding problems in young children.

* Looking at solutions to feeding problems in children, Carolyn Dunlop, Paediatric Dietician at Yorkhill Hospital will speak on the comprehensive feeding clinic that has been established at Yorkhill Hospital to provide a service for these children and their parents. Research in Glasgow funded by the Child and Family Trust has shown that this multidisciplinary clinic involving a dietician, nurse, clinician, speech therapist has significantly improved children's nutrition and the quality of life of their families.

Further information for journalists can be found at :

Media Relations Office (

* The "Children with Feeding Difficulties" conference will be held on Friday 23 March 2001, in the Bute Hall, University of Glasgow


9.15 - 10.00 Registration

10.00 - 10.05 Introductions from the Chair Professor Lawrence Weaver, Department of Child Health, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow

10.05 - 10.35 Undernutrition in children Dr Adrian Thomas, Consultant, Paediatrician/Gastroenterologist, Booth Hall Children?s Hospital, Manchester

10.35 - 10.45 Questions and discussion

10.45 - 11.20 Refreshment Break

11.20 - 11.45 The prevalence and severity of nutritional problems in disabled children Dr Peter B Sullivan, University Lecturer in Paediatrics and Honorary Consultant Paediatrics, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

11.45 - 11.55 Questions and discussion

11.55 - 1.10 Lunch

1.10 - 1.20 Introduction to the afternoon session (Please choose the session you wish to attend)

Session 1 Multi-disciplinary team working works - a case study

1.20 - 1.45 Lorna Russell, Fulton Mackay Research Nurse, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow

Session 2 Children on home enteral tube feeding: practical

1.20 - 1.45 issues

Lois Brunker, Homeward Nurse, Nutricia Clinical Care

1.45 - 2.15 Psychological aspects of feeding problems in young children

Dr Catherine Dendy, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Manager of the Feeding Programme, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

2.15 - 2.25 Questions and discussion

2.25 - 2.45 Yorkhill research project feeding clinic

Carolyn Dunlop, Senior Paediatric Dietitian, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow

2.45 - 2.55 Questions and discussion

2.55 - 3.20 Refreshment Break

3.20 - 3.40 The Feeding Clinic goes to school

Helen McCarthy, Paediatric Dietitian - Research/Special Needs, Booth Hall Children?s Hospital, Manchester

3.40 - 3.50 Questions and discussion

3.50 - 4.15 Round table discussion

4.15 (approx) Close

For further information contact:

* Carolyn Fraser, Department of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, 0141-201-9264, email

* or University of Glasgow press office, 0141-330-3535

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