Estimates of the incidence of feeding problems in young children range from 20 to 25 per cent for the general population of preschoolers. But childhood eating problems are estimated to account for between 25 and 35 per cent of referrals to outpatient paediatric clinics. (l4> Estimates vary widely due to differences in the severity of the problems described and also the confusion that has existed around the estimates of organic and non-organic failure to thrive.
Failure to thrive accounts for between 2 and 5 per cent of all paediatric admissions in the United States. A retrospective London-based study found that 5 per cent of full-term 1-year-old children were failing to thrive.(!9)
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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.