Is My Child Overweight?
Let’s be honest.
The question of whether your child is overweight is sometimes a difficult one for you to answer. Some cultures use food to convey love and care to children. In such a culture an overweight child is considered to be one who has been loved and cared for. And so many kids today are overweight that an overweight boy or girl may appear normal.
The best way to find out if your child is overweight is to ask your pediatrician or other qualified health professional such as your school nurse. Your health professional is trained to answer your question honestly and objectively.
For starters, you should calculate your child’s BMI (Body, Mass Index)
2. Fill out the child's name, sex, body weight in pounds, height in feet and inches, and age. The calculator will give your child’s BMI, the percentile (e.g. 60th percentile means that 60% of a test group of the children who were your child’s sex, age, and height weighed less than your child and 40% weighed more), and whether your child’s weight is underweight, normal, at risk, or overweight.
3. If your child is in the 85th percentile or higher, he or she is overweight and you should be concerned. If your child is in the 95th percentile or higher, he or she is obese and you should see a doctor. Ask your pediatrician how much weight your child should lose and how fast.
Why should I care?
If your child is overweight or obese, losing some of that weight will not only make your child have more energy and feel better, but will improve your child’s health and may improve their self esteem.
Your child’s weight can cause one or more of these problems:
• Increased risk of heart disease, which later in life could cause your child to be on a restricted diet, limit their physical activity, and even result in a heart attack
• Risk of aggravating asthma
• Increased risk of high blood pressure, which could lead to a stroke
• Increased risk of arthritis, which will cause painful joints and in more severe cases a crippling effect in knees and hips
• Increased risk of fatty liver, which can lead to permanent damage and ultimately to cirrhosis of the liver
• Loss of self esteem from teasing by other children and a poor self image
• Most frightening is an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This disease will cause your child to have to monitor their blood sugar three or four times a day, and they may have to take insulin shots to regulate their blood sugar.