Is your child obese? This is a question that many parents must face at some point in their child’s life. With the obesity rate skyrocketing among the younger set, it should come as no surprise that up to 30 percent of children and teenagers meet the criteria for childhood obesity.
Why is this important? Childhood obesity can increase the risk of your child developing hypertension, diabetes, as well as a variety of orthopedic problems related to carrying around excess weight. Plus, an obese child is more likely to become an obese adult which increases his future risk for heart disease as well as a host of other medical problems.
Thus, it’s important to address obesity while your child is still young to avoid health future problems.
How do you know if you child is truly overweight or obese? You physician can help you determine whether your child meets the criteria for clinical obesity, although you may be able to determine at home whether your child meets the criteria for being significantly overweight or obese.
First, you want to determine an BMI for your child. What is a BMI? BMI stands for body mass index which is a number that takes into account your child’s height-to-weight ratio. There is a rather complex formula for calculating BMI, but this can be done quickly and easily at a variety of online sites that offer a BMI calculator. You simply plug in your child’s weight and height and the program will calculate your child’s BMI. Finding a BMI calculator can be as simple as doing a Google search for that phrase.
Your child’s BMI can then be compared to other children using a children’s BMI percentile graph which can be found online also. If your child’s BMI is greater than 95 percent of the children of the same age and gender, he is considered to be overweight. Since children are still growing, this factor must be considered when making an overall weight assessment.
If your child meets the criteria for being overweight or obese, what should you do? It may be time to schedule a visit with your family doctor to run some routine blood tests to be sure there isn’t an underlying medical reason for your child’s obesity. If all tests are negative, it’s time to review your child’s eating and exercise habits with your doctor. He may be able to suggest a diet and exercise program that’s well suited to your child’s particular situation. He may even recommend the services of a nutritionist to evaluate your child’s caloric requirements.
By addressing the issue of overweight and obesity early, you can help your child adopt proper exercise and eating habits now so he can reduce his risk of health problems later in life.