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Case Study-Child Health

Case Study-Child Health

Sample Answer 

Case Study-Child Health


This is a case scenario of a severely underweight, 12-years old Hispanic girl with underweight parents who has been bullied in school just recently. According to Mengesha Kassie et al. (2020), being underweight is having a body weight that is beneath the healthy weight range and is a health concern requiring intervention. The body requires nutrients and calories to build healthy bones, skin, and hair. In this scenario, the risk factor for the underweight condition in the girl is genetics since her parents are also underweight. Other causes of being underweight could be low food intake, mental illness, and chronic diseases (Gebru et al., 2020).

Health risks and issues related to an underweight child

Being underweight means that the body mass index is below 18 kilograms per meter squared and is dependent on the height and weight of the child. One of the health risks resulting from the girl’s condition would be slow or impaired growth in her lifetime. This is because a healthy body requires nutrients to grow and develop strong bones. Secondly, the child is at risk of contracting diseases due to her low immunity, given that a healthy body and adequate nutrient intake help fight infection. Thirdly, the girl is at risk of developing osteoporosis, whereby her bones would become weak, brittle, and prone to bone breaking. In addition, due to reduced nutrients in her diet, her hair, skin, and teeth would develop problems. The hair would weaken, leading to easy breakage; the skin would become thin and dry, and her teeth would weaken due to poor dental hygiene. Underweight patients do not take enough calories to give energy and hence feel tired most of the time. Additionally, underweight patients are at risk of developing anemia (iron deficiency) due to low intake of nutrients (Gebru et al., 2020). Lastly, being underweight is associated with high mortality risks and impairs the healing process following trauma or accident.

Assessing an underweight child

The etiology related to childhood underweight is sophisticated and entails the interaction of several factors, including cultural, dietary, and socio-economic factors (Xie et al., 2020). Poverty, family medical history, higher frequency of low birth weight, poor child-caring practices, poor antenatal care, and inaccessibility to child healthcare are among the common causes of underweight conditions (Mengesha Kassie et al., 2020). The care provider should probe the parents thoroughly on the listed factors contributing to a child being underweight. The child could have a low bone density, making her inactive, which may increase her vulnerability to cardiovascular diseases.

The care provider should ask the patient or the parent about their background in terms of socio-economic status. This will include the number of family members in the family, the number of meals taken per day, and their nutritional value. A family with low socio-economic status and many members is likely to survive on one or two meals with low nutritional value, resulting in a low body mass index for the child. Additionally, the provider should ask about the child’s daily activities, performance in school, and relationships with other children in school. Information about the child’s recent illness or any existing illness should also be assessed. Some medical conditions like diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, congenital heart disease, and cancer are attributed to chronic weight loss. The provider should also seek clarification about the health-seeking behavior of the family. Some family cultures discourage good health-seeking behavior for members perceiving themselves as having a health problem or placing restrictions on some family members. Therefore, some family members end up not having immunization and treatment, weakening their bodies and resulting in weight loss.

Risk identification and how to gather more information about the patient

The risk associated with being underweight is a family history of low body mass index, especially from the girl’s parents. Naturally, some people have a low weight due to physical characteristics that run in their family. Physical attributes such as body weight can be very sensitive to some individuals, necessitating the need for sensitivity when assessing and gathering information on these aspects. Therefore, the care provider should open the discussion about weight in a respectful and non-judgmental way. The provider should allow the patient to openly discuss their emotional and physical health. In addition, the provider should avoid descriptive words like “thin” or “slim” to avoid emotional hurt. Lastly, the provider should be alert and sensitive to cultural differences regarding the health of the child, social activities, weight, and preferred food.

Parents’ and caregivers’ potentially sensitive questions about their child’s weight

Parents and caregivers greatly determine the weight and health of a child. This is because it’s their duty to ensure that a child is well fed by availing and preparing meals. Parents also monitor the growth pattern of a child and determine their health. As a care provider, it is important to ask the parent or the caregiver about the child’s feeding pattern, the child’s illnesses since childhood, and the family history of being underweight (Gebru et al., 2020). A child’s feeding pattern constitutes the number of meals the child takes in a day and the nutritional value of the food. This will give a better understanding of the weight gain pattern of a child. Most parents and care providers do not give a balanced diet to their children. This is because they lack the know-how on the nutritional value of the food they give and the consequences to the child’s health. A balanced diet should have carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. Carbohydrates are energy-giving foods, proteins are bodybuilding foods, and vitamins are protective foods, all of which are necessary for healthy development.

Children require energy-giving foods rich in calories and vitamins to give them the energy they need for growth and protect them from diseases. Knowing the child’s health history will help understand the growth pattern and weight gain chart. For example, children who have been suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes mellitus and HIV&AIDs have a poor weight gain pattern, which is also reflected in their adulthood. Other health-related issues that affect weight gain in a child are conditions such as pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and severe acute malnutrition. A family history of being underweight causes underweight in the subsequent children. For example, in this scenario, the parents are underweight, and the child is severely underweight. Maternal causes of being underweight can be due to chronic illnesses in the family, intense physical exercise by the family members, or metabolic diseases. This information is important in tracing the cause of being underweight in the child.

Specific questions about the child to gather more information:

  1. What does your usual daily food intake as a family look like?
  2. Does your daughter suffer from any chronic illnesses?
  3. How is your daughter’s performance in school? Does she have a strained relationship with other children in school?

Strategies that encourage parents to protect their child’s health and weight

The weight of a child determines their health. This is because a healthy child has a good weight gain pattern, while a sickly child has poor weight gain. A parent’s responsibility is to maintain a healthy baby with a normal weight. Parents can maintain a normal weight and good health by feeding their child on nutritious meals and seeking healthcare services (Ochieng, B. M. 2020). Healthcare care services include immunization, growth monitoring clinics, and curative, promotive, and preventive services. Seeking healthcare services enlightens the parents on how to monitor a child’s growth pattern and gives knowledge on the signs of illnesses that may cause weight loss through health talks. The care provider should develop and maintain healthy eating habits for the child. Eating habits are developed by establishing daily meals and snack time. They should give frequent meals rich in calories, proteins, and vitamins. In addition, parents and caregivers should ensure a child stays active by engaging in regular physical exercise. This helps strengthen the child’s bones and increases the child’s self-esteem.


The weight of a child is a great determinant of the health of the child, with underweight children being at risk of contracting illnesses due to low immunity. Low body mass index is associated with low nutritional intake, genetics, and diseases. To improve this, the parents should incorporate a healthy feeding pattern and practice good health-seeking behavior. Care providers should take the initiative of guiding parents towards achieving a healthy body and weight.


Gebru, N. W., Gebreyesus, S. H., Yirgu, R., Habtemariam, E., & Abebe, D. S. (2020). The relationship between caregivers’ feeding practices and children’s eating behaviours among preschool children in Ethiopia. Appetite157, 104992.

Mengesha Kassie, A., Beletew Abate, B., Wudu Kassaw, M., & Gebremeskel Mesafint, T. (2020). Prevalence of underweight and its associated factors among reproductive age group women in Ethiopia: analysis of the 2016 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey Data. Journal of Environmental and Public Health2020.

Ochieng, B. M. (2020). Healthy weight maintenance strategy in early childhood: The views of black African migrant parents and health visitors. Health & Social Care in the Community.

Xie, X. N., Lei, X., Li, Y. M., & Lei, X. (2020). Global prevalence of obesity, overweight and underweight in children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder, attention‐deficit hyperactivity disorder: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Obesity Reviews21(12), e13123.


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Case Study-Child Health

The Assignment
Assignment (3–4 pages, not including title and reference pages):
Assignment Group 2: Child Health Case:

Include the following:

  • • Chosen Case: Severely underweight 12-year-old Hispanic girl with underweight parents who has been bullied in school just recently
    • An explanation of the health issues and risks that are relevant to the child you were assigned.
    • Describe additional information you would need in order to further assess his or her weight-related health.
    • Identify and describe any risks and consider what further information you would need to gain a full understanding of the child’s health. Think about how you could gather this information in a sensitive fashion.
    • Taking into account the parents’ and caregivers’ potential sensitivities, list at least three specific questions you would ask about the child to gather more information.
    • Provide at least two strategies you could employ to encourage the parents or caregivers to be proactive about their child’s health and weight.
Case Study: Child Health

Case Study: Child Health

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