Article at a Glance
• There are many factors like age, gender, body type, and activity level to consider when determining a healthy weight for your child.
• If you are concerned about your child’s weight, the pediatrician can help you evaluate the different factors.
• Even if your child doesn’t have a weight problem, it is important to develop healthy habits now.
It isn’t always easy to know what the right weight is for your child — there are so many different factors to consider. Children are still growing and not all children grow at the same rate. Children also have different body types. If you think your child might be overweight or underweight, talk to your child’s pediatrician.
Some factors your doctor will consider are:
Is your child going through puberty? Children tend to grow rapidly during this time period. The amounts of muscle, fat, and bone change dramatically. People also start puberty at different times. Some children start as early as eight years old and others don’t start until they are fourteen. The size of children of the same age can vary dramatically depending on whether or not they have started puberty. The pediatrician will be able to look at previous measurements of your child’s height and weight to see if everything looks normal.
Is your child healthy? If your child is often tired or ill, his or her weight problem may be a symptom of something else. Some children and teens may have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia.
Do you have a family history of weight problems? Problems with weight gain and some of the conditions that come with being overweight, such as diabetes, often run in the family. A look at your family history will tell the doctor if there are some conditions you should be concerned about.
Is your child active? What are your child’s eating habits? Even more important than genes is whether or not we are in the habit of eating healthy and exercising regularly.
If there is a concern about your child’s weight, the pediatrician will likely give you special diet and exercise recommendations. Because children’s growing bodies need proper nourishment, do not severely restrict their calories or place them on extreme diets.
Regardless of whether you are concerned about your child’s weight, it is important to know that developing healthy habits now can make a huge difference in your child’s life in the long term.
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