MWPH's Chief Medical Officer Addresses Global Health Conference in China

For immediate release: January 06, 2014


Kathleen R. Lee

410-578-2681 office / 443-386-7003 mobile

Focuses on Need for Early Intervention, Multi-Disciplinary Approach To Children's Feeding Problems

BALTIMORE, MD – Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital's Medical Director, Dr. Richard Katz, joined health experts from around the world in China to talk about feeding children who can't or won't be fed. It occurred at the 1st Annual BIT Global Health Conference 2013 in Dalian, in northeast China.

Dr. Katz, MD, MBA, FAAP, a pediatric gastroenterologist and director of the Feeding Day Program at Mt. Washington, said the rate of feeding disorders among children with developmental disabilities is estimated to be extremely high at about 80 percent (25 percent in the general population). Therefore, he said, it is crucial that parents and other caregivers recognize the problem early and obtain an evaluation in order to arrest a potential downward spiral in their child's feeding abilities.

He pointed out one of the chief difficulties in treating children with feeding issues is getting to the root cause.

"Diagnosing medical problems in children with feeding difficulties is a challenge, especially in infants and toddlers who are unable to report on their condition," said Katz, also an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Katz adds that a multi-disciplinary feeding team from several disciplines including G.I., Occupational Therapy/Speech Therapy, Psychology and Nutrition are needed to establish a diagnosis. Children who have a problem eating may have contributing developmental issues such as cerebral palsy, autism or lead poisoning, or problems that have a behavioral, psychological or environmental root cause.

"It's absolutely crucial to look at the whole child and to educate and train the caregiver to avoid the revolving door phenomenon," Katz says. In the absence of an active medical problem, most children with feeding disorders can be effectively treated."