What to Do If You Think Your Child is Obese

Child Is Obese

Do you worry that your child is obese?  You probably understand the many health problems and deadly diseases that are associated with obesity. If your child is obese, he or she runs an increased risk of developing:

  • Type II diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Heart disease or stroke
  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure

Everyone is different, and that includes children. With 2 identical looking kids, one may be obese and the other may be healthy. There are many genetic and body frame factors to consider. But basically, obesity is defined as a condition where someone is “grossly fat or overweight” depending on their Body Mass Index (BMI).

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What is BMI?

To understand whether your child is obese, you need to determine her BMI score. BMI calculation does not measure body fat directly, but rather uses global averages to see where your child ranks against her peers that are the same age, height and weight. Body mass index is defined as a measurement of normal weight, overweight and obesity using comparative height and weight charts.

How Can I Measure My Child’s BMI to Determine If He Is Obese?

Search for the term “Childhood BMI Calculator” on the Internet. There are literally thousands of free online body mass index calculators which produce an instant score. Simply input the birth date and year, gender, height and weight of your child. Some of these calculators may also ask for the height of your child’s genetic parents.

Without parental height considered, a 10 year old girl that measures 4 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 70 pounds is considered in the 48th BMI percentile. That means that she is heavier than 48% of girls her age and height, a healthy measurement.

What BMI Percentile is Healthy, Overweight and Obese?

A child that scores between 0 and 5 or 10 on the BMI percentile chart for kids is considered underweight. Between 5 or 10 and 80 or 85 is considered a healthy weight. A score of 80 to 90 or 95 is considered overweight, and any score over 90 is a sign of a marginal or definitely obese child. Do not forget, these are just averages. If you are concerned your child is obese or overweight, schedule an appointment with your doctor or health professional.

What Do You Do If Your Child Is Obese?

Obesity can be hereditary, to some extent. If you and your spouse are obese, your kids have a higher tendency to be so as well. However, health professionals, fitness experts and doctors agree that your diet and level of physical activity is what ultimately decide how much you weigh and how fit you are.

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So get your child eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Keep them active, exercising at least 2.5 hours per week. Make sure they drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. These simple steps can reverse obesity, delivering the self-esteem and health that every child deserves.