How to Bring Up Your Child's Weight: Questions to Ask continued...
The pediatrician will assess your child's weight by using his height and weight to calculate his body mass index (BMI). The doctor will also calculate your child's BMI percentile, which compares him to other kids his age and gender. That BMI percentile places your child in a weight range: underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
But BMI is just a piece of the picture. The pediatrician will also ask you about your weight history as well your mate's, both parents' heights, your family health history, and your family eating and exercise habits. Your child's health care provider uses all this information to decide what to do next if your child's weight is outside the healthy range.
Help for Your Overweight Child: 2 to 5 Years Old
As a parent, it can be difficult to know the difference between overweight and healthy weight in a child this young. Many kids still have baby fat from their infant years, while others may appear thin. One study found that parents tend to underestimate their preschooler's weight. This means that your child could be overweight, and you may not even realize it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends BMI screening starting at age 2, so it's a good idea to talk with your pediatrician about your child's weight at every visit.
Here are some questions you can ask the pediatrician about your 2- to 5-year-old.
- What can I do to help my child develop healthy eating habits at this age?
- How many meals a day should my child be eating?
- What is a healthy snack?
- What are appropriate portion sizes for my child?
- How can our family change our eating habits to help our child?
Help for Your Overweight Child: 5 to 12 Years Old
If your grade-school child is overweight, her health care provider will likely recommend that you focus on maintaining her current weight as she gets taller so that she can grow into her weight.
Questions to ask your pediatrician about your overweight child in grade school:
- How can I get my child to pick healthy foods without nagging her all the time?
- How can I talk to my child about the food she sees on TV?
- Can you recommend activities she might like? She stays indoors more and more these days.
- How can I decrease TV and video game time for my child?
- How will puberty affect my child's weight?