Do you need to be concerned about children BMI and weight? This has always been a source of concern for me. Not because my kids are overweight, but because I don’t want to let them get overweight and then struggle with losing it. I know the struggles of being overweight and how hard it is to lose it. I also know what the desperation to lose that weight will drive you to do. I never want that for them.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a child’s weight and height. It’s usually a reliable indicator of body fat for most children but does not actually measure the body fat directly. For children, BMI is age and sex specific and referred to as BMI-for-age.
It works like this; a child whose BMI is equal to or greater than the 5th percentile and less than the 85th percentile is considered at a healthy weight. A child at or above the 85th percentile but less than the 95th percentile for age is considered overweight. A child at or above the 95th percentile is considered obese. A child below the 5th percentile is considered underweight.
Kids are now developing weight-related health problems that used to only be seen in adults such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. And overweight kids are also likely to be overweight as adults.
If you think your child has gained too much weight talk to your pediatrician. If your doctor thinks your child’s weight isn’t healthy, he will give you dietary and exercise recommendations. It’s imperative that you follow the doctor’s instructions for your child. Restricting calories or starving your child can deprive them of nutrients their growing bodies need and may actually slow down metabolism, so heed your doctors advice.
Obesity can be genetic, but unhealthy eating habits can also be passed down by example. In fact, the eating and exercise habits of people in the same house can have an even greater effect than genes on someone’s risk of becoming overweight. As parents, we have to set the example. If your family eats a lot of high-calorie junk foods and doesn’t exercise, your kids will do the same.
To help your child stay healthy, balance the calories your child consumes with the calories your child burns through physical activity and normal growth. One part of balancing calories is to eat foods that provide adequate nutrition and an appropriate number of calories.
You can help children learn to be more conscious of what they eat by developing healthy eating habits, making dishes healthier, and reducing high calorie temptations. Make it easy to eat right. Provide good choices for your child, such as:
- Always have vegetables, fruits and whole-grain snack products to snack on.
- Switch to low-fat milk and dairy.
- Always use lean meats, poultry and fish for protein.
- Teach portion control.
- Never make kids clean their entire plate.
- Encourage kids to drink loads of water.
These are just a few ways that you can be informed and stop BMI and weight issues before they every start.
How do you keep your children healthy?