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According to HealthyChildren.org child “obesity is usually defined as more than 20 percent above ideal weight for a particular height and age.” Obesity not only has immediate effects on well-being but also long-term effects to overall health. But how do you know if your child is at risk for obesity?
How to Judge a Healthy Weight For Your Child and How To Get Them Moving
Monitor. Since there is no specific weight that determines child obesity – it’s important to keep track of their height and weight. The CDC has an online calculator that “provides BMI and the corresponding BMI-for-age percentile on a CDC BMI-for-age growth chart.” for children and teens between the ages of 2 and 19. “The BMI Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a child’s weight and height. BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness for most children and teens.”
Talk to your pediatrician. A good pediatrician will let you know when your child is at risk but if you have any concerns, be honest with your pediatrician.
Assess/Adjust. Sometimes as working parents, it’s easy to go for the microwave meals and fast food. Think about what weekly meals look like and how you can make small changes. ChooseMyPlate.gov is an excellent resource to create healthy meal plans. Even the smallest changes – like switching to water instead of juice – can make a difference.
Get them moving. Child obesity is also a result of lack of physical activity. In the winter months, it can be hard to get kids out and about. But there are many video games that can get kids off the sofa and moving. At least 30 minutes of physical activity per day can make a difference in your child’s life. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk whenever you can. And dance! Dancing is a great way to keep active.
It’s not about putting your kids on a diet, it’s about creating a healthy lifestyle and teaching kids how to eat well.