Feb 24 2014

Is your child Overweight?

Published by at 7:22 pm under children,Health,Weight Control

Most of us think we can recognize when a child  is overweight. But can we? As parents we are not objective about our children, and we bring our fears and experience to every situation, which colors our perception: for example, a mother with a history of weight problems may interpret her son’s natural chubbiness as obesity. A father who has never had a weight issue may not recognize that his daughter’s weight gain is above what is considered normal.

Because parents can’t be objective and are not trained in normal childhood growth patterns, you must involve your doctor in answering your concerns about your child’s weight. A health care provider will take into consideration age, growth, and the overall trend in height and weight development. Children grow at unpredictable rates. It is possible for a child to put on weight and “grow into” it a year later. Your child’s doctor can put your child’s rate of growth into an appropriate perspective.

In addition to the standard height and weight charts your doctor will evaluate your child’s body mass index (BMI). This is your child’s weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. The BMI is recommended as a way to screen for overweight and obesity because it correlates both subcutaneous fat and total body fatness. Obesity by definition occurs when the body has excess fat tissue. A child is considered overweight if his BMI is equal to or in excess of the ninety-fifth percentile for age and gender or greater than a BMI of 30. If your child is heavier than 85 percent of children who are the same age and height your child is considered overweight

Prepubescent growth, “plumpness,” which is a natural occurrence starting at age eight in girls and ten in boys, is often the cause for concerns in parents, but as the adolescent growth spurt approaches, usually by age eleven, change occurs in height too. During this time kids require calories and nutrition to meet their growth needs. Rely on your child’s health care team to interpret weight and growth trends. If a problem is identified ask for a treatment plan to address the problem.

Read more about the BMI for children or cut and paste this link into your search bar: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/index.html

 

 

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