Nutritional Concerns for Children with Juvenile Arthritis

Posted on July 19, 2019

Written By: Lisa Perry, RDN, Lisa Perry Nutrition, lisaperryrdn@gmail.com

Children need many nutrients to help their bodies grow. However, children with Juvenile
Arthritis (JA) may need more support to meet their needs. Both the disease itself and the medications
used to treat the disease can suppress a child’s appetite.

Tasks that seem simple to a healthy person, such as chewing and swallowing, can be difficult for
children with JA. Talk to a doctor if your child has difficulty chewing and swallowing.

A school-aged child with JA may be too embarrassed to ask for help opening milk cartons, food
jars, or cutting up food, and choose not to eat or drink those foods. Look for easy-to-open
packaging for school lunches. Serve bite-sized foods, which can be eaten with fingers or a fork.

Children with JA who are unable to meet the nutritional demands of their growing bodies may
struggle with poor growth and nutrient deficiencies.  Offer a variety of healthful foods, including
proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, to meet the demands of their growing bodies. Providing
nutrient-rich snacks helps to meet needs as well.

Please consult your child’s physician before giving them any supplements to avoid any
interactions with medications.