Kids health

Is your child becoming overweight?

You’ve all heard that childhood obesity is on the rise, but how do you know if your own child’s health is at risk or if it’s just baby fat? A paediatrician explains.

My six-year-old is on the chubby side. How do I know if it’s just baby fat or the start of a weight problem? 

It’s best to meet with your doctor and review your child’s growth over the past few years. Then you can accurately see if your kid’s weight is following the same curve it was previously, or if, in fact, it is jumping curves from, say, the 50th percentile to the 85th. If your child is tall, it’s natural that they would be consistently heavy, but if their weight is high and they are shorter, that’s more likely a problem. Both height and weight need to be considered. 

A family made of ballons Childhood obesity: Sizing up our kids We should all make sure our kids are eating a variety of healthful foods and getting at least one hour of heart-racing activity, such as running at the playground, biking or swimming, each day. We should also reduce screen time to no more than one hour a day for kids two to five years old, and continue to minimize it after that, as excess screen time is associated with being overweight.

I always recommend parents get active with their kids. There’s no better motivator for kids to stay healthy than keeping up with active parents. Go for walks together, ride your bikes or go for a swim; if your children see you being active, they’re more likely to be active themselves, decreasing the risk of becoming overweight.

Read more:
5 tips to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight
The critical window for preventing obesity is earlier than you think

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