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Potbellies and toddlers

Children and potbellies

Information

Question:

Is there any reason to worry about a child's potbelly?

Answer:

It is generally normal for toddlers to have potbellies. By the time children reach school age, the potbelly will most often disappear and their bodies seem more proportionate.

The belly should feel soft and NOT tender. There is nothing to worry about unless the child also has other symptoms such as:

References

Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Steward RW. Abdomen. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Siedel's Guide to Physical Examination. 9th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019:chap 18.

Turay F, Rudolph JA. Nutrition and gastroenterology. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 11.

  • Potbellies

    Potbellies - illustration

    A toddler's potbelly is nothing to worry about unless the swollen belly is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, or vomiting. A potbelly should also be evaluated by a physician if the swollen belly appears suddenly, or the child exhibits a short stature.

    Potbellies

    illustration

    • Potbellies

      Potbellies - illustration

      A toddler's potbelly is nothing to worry about unless the swollen belly is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, or vomiting. A potbelly should also be evaluated by a physician if the swollen belly appears suddenly, or the child exhibits a short stature.

      Potbellies

      illustration


     

    Review Date: 3/6/2019

    Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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