Is your Child Really Overweight?


Do you find yourself wondering if your child is overweight? Are you worried because your child seems bigger than other kids? Has your pediatrician pointed out that your child is in a high percentile? Are you concern about your child's big appetite? If you have ever asked yourself this kind of questions, this post is for you. It will give you the information you need to look at your child's growth and development as a whole.

Some important aspects to consider:

  • Most toddlers lean out as they get closer to 4 or 5 years old, and again when they come into their teens.
  • Genetics plays an important role. Your child's frame size and the amount of muscle can increase their BMI, but neither of these things are indications of a weight or health problem.
  • Sometimes, your own history, weight problems, and concerns can interfere in your kids' healthy relationships with food and with his/hers body.
  • Research points out that feeding techniques are a more important indicator of a healthy weight than the food itself.

Said that, let's analyze your child's weight.

BMI and Percentiles

If your child is under 2, the pediatrician won't yet calculate the BMI. Instead, they'll give you your child's weight and length percentiles. After age 2, one of the ways to measure weight and size is with the BMI (Body Mass Index). BMI is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.

Technically, a BMI at the 85th percentile or higher (but less than the 95th percentile) means a child is overweight. A BMI at or above the 95th percentile labels a child as obese. You can check your child's BMI here.

However, don´t obsess about the numbers, BMI does NOT tell the full story about a child's weight or health.

We can obtain more relevant information with the weight for length percentile. Yet, if your child is in a higher percentile, it does not necessarily mean there is a weight problem neither. Rather than looking for an ideal number, what we want to see is consistent growth along your child's growth curve. If we find a big jump in their percentile or if the percentile drastically decreases, you should evaluate with an expert what might be going on. Ask me for help if you need it. 

Percentiles for Boys / Percentiles for Girls

How do you know if you should be concerned about your child's weight?

If your child weight is still concerning to you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has your child always been at about the same percentile? (With fluctuations less than 10%).
  • Has your child a large or muscular frame? How about others in your family?
  • Does your child do some sort of physical activity daily?
  • Do you follow a fairly regular routine of meals and snacks?
  • Does your child eat fruits or vegetables daily?
  • Does your child seem to understand and notice when he/she is hungry as well as when she/he is full?

If you have answered YES to most of these questions, and your child does not have any health problem/concern, then overall you probably should not be concerned about your child being overweight. It is likely they are the right weight for their body.

If the answer was NO to most of these questions. You can reach out for help to address the circumstances that may be affecting your child's weight and relationship with food. If you need advice or guidance I can help you through a counseling session.

Let me help to support your children's natural growth and weight, introduce new healthy habits and foods, and make mealtimes more enjoyable for the whole family.