Does My Child Have a Weight Problem?
Your child may be normal, not fat.
If you are concerned about your child’s weight, consider this:
- Your child may gain weight before a growth spurt. That’s normal! If you’re still concerned, ask for advice.
- Many kids slim down (maybe outgrow a chubby stage), as they get older. Did you? That may be a clue to your child’s future weight and body size.
If you suspect a weight problem:
Get help. Talk to your child’s health care provider right away. There’s usually a reason for a weight problem. The longer you wait, the greater the risk for weight problems in the teen and adult years.
Growth charts from regular exams help your health care professional see if your child’s weight and height stay within healthy ranges. Your child counts on you to get advice from experts.
If your child is overweight:
Weight loss dieting isn’t a healthy approach. Instead help your overweight child grow into his or her current weight.
Withholding food isn’t right for kids.
(Dieting is not for most children either.)
- Your child might not get enough food energy and nutrients to grow properly, learn, and play.
- Your child may learn to sneak food when you’re not watching.
- Kids feel bad about themselves when they’re treated differently. That feeling may turn to anger, stress, or overeating.
- Your child won’t learn to control how much he or she eats if you decide what’s enough – or if you push your child to eat less.
Your child counts on you to learn how to enjoy food and eat in a healthful way. Your child’s attitude about eating sets the stage for a healthy weight throughout life!
You Can Help Your Child to a Healthy Weight
- Help your child accept the body he or she was born with. Pressuring your child to look or be different isn’t healthy. Give yourself a hug – and say, “ I like myself, too!”
- Make meals and snacks calm and pleasant! That’s the best way to encourage normal eating.
- Give your child a chance to know the signals for hunger and feeling full. That way, your child will be able to control how much he or she eats.
- Keep fruits, vegetables, and other low-calorie foods handy. Skip the urge to keep a lot of candy, chips, or soda around. Keep them out of sight. You Can Help Your Child to a Healthy Weight.
- Enjoy your child “in motion.” When your child runs, jumps, and plays actively (in a safe place), that’s great. Join in when you can! Moving more and sitting less is a healthful habit to learn. Inactivity appears to be a major reason for weight problems.
- Do all you can to build your child’s self esteem. A positive attitude about himself or herself helps your child eat in a normal and healthful way.
You can achieve or keep your own healthy weight in these same ways. Remember, your child will follow your example. What you do (not only what you say) is your child’s best teacher!
Nibbles for Health Nutrition Newsletter for Parents of Young Children, USDA, Food and Nutrition Service
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing