Are You Concerned Your Child Is Overweight?
If you are concerned your child may be overweight, please call our nurse advice line to determine whether you should schedule a weight consultation appointment.
Healthy Weight: Nutrition & Physical Fitness
Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that at least 30 percent of America's children and teenagers are either overweight or obese. Being overweight in childhood not only affects how a child looks and feels, it can also contribute to serious health issues including:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- Liver disease
- Orthopedic problems
- Gall bladder problems
- Polycystic ovary disease in girls
- Poor self-esteem and depression
Unfortunately these health issues don't end at childhood. Adolescents who are overweight have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults, and consequently have a high risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer.
The providers at Advanced Pediatrics are very concerned about current trends toward obesity in children and are committed to providing resources and services to promote healthy weight, proper nutrition and active lifestyles for our patients. If you have questions regarding your child's weight, nutrition or fitness level, talk to one of our providers at his or her next well care visit.
How We Identify Healthy Weight
At your child's well-care exams, his or her physical development is charted and monitored through measurements for height, weight and body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a measurement that uses the relationship between height and weight to indicate body "fatness" and potential weight problems that have associated health risks.
Your child's height and weight will be measured and the BMI score will be calculated using a BMI computer program. The BMI number will be charted on a special graph that allows us to track changes over the childhood years, as well as identify BMI scores that appear high.
You may calculate your child or teen's BMI online, by visiting the CDC's BMI Calculator. If your child or teen's BMI is in the 75th percentile or higher, please call our nurse advice line to determine if you should schedule a weight consultation appointment with one of our providers.
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BMI Scores and What They Mean
- A BMI of under 75% indicates a healthy weight!
- A BMI between 75-84% is borderline and family history risks should be evaluated
- A BMI between 85-94% indicates a significant risk of overweight, a need for screening for other risk factors, and preventative measures such as a plan for weight maintenance
- A BMI of 95% and over indicates overweight, a need for additional assessment for other risk and health factors, and a plan for weight maintenance or weight loss depending on the child's age
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Advanced Pediatrics Can Help!
Once your child's BMI score is calculated, your health care provider will discuss the number with you and be able to answer any questions you may have. If your child's score is high, we may advise additional lab work and make some suggestions for healthy nutrition and exercise changes you can make.
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If Your Child is Overweight
If you believe your child is overweight, we suggest you discuss this with one of our providers at your child's next well care appointment. If you would like to discuss your concerns before your child's next well care appointment is due, you may call our central appointment line to schedule a weight consultation appointment. In the meantime, we offer the following suggestions from the National Institutes of Health:
- Be supportive. Make sure your child knows that you love and accept him or her at any weight. Listen to your child's concerns about his or her weight and offer your support, acceptance, and encouragement.
- Encourage healthy eating habits. Make an effort to keep a variety of healthful foods - fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and lean meats - on hand. Practice healthful eating habits such as eating breakfast everyday, eating fast food less often, and healthy snacking.
- Encourage daily physical activity. Help your child get some exercise everyday. When it's safe and feasible, let him or her walk to school, the store, or friends' houses. It also helps to encourage physical education in school, participation in extracurricular sports teams or classes, and to be active as a family.
- Discourage inactive pastimes. Limit the time your child is allowed to watch TV, play video games, and surf the internet. Instead, help your child come up with fun alternatives to watching TV.
- Be a positive role model. Show your child that you lead a healthy lifestyle by eating healthful foods and being physically active. This way, your child will be more likely to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits that will last a lifetime.
- Seek help. Your physician, local library, and local recreation or community center may offer information and programs that will help you manage your child's weight. Seek help from these resources if you need it.
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For additional information about eating healthy, staying active and helping your child to maintain a healthy weight, you may want to consider the following resources:
Advanced Pediatrics Healthy Weight Articles
Advanced Pediatrics Nutrition Tips
Advanced Pediatrics Fitness Tips
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365 Activities for Fitness, Food, and Fun for the Whole Family by Julia Sweet; Contemporary Books, 2001
Food, Fun, n' Fitness: Designing Healthy Lifestyles for Our Children by Mary Friesz; Designs for Healthy Lifestyles, 2002
Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids: Eat, Play, and Be Healthy by W. Allan Walker; McGraw-Hill, 2005
A Parent's Guide to Childhood Obesity: A Road Map, American Academy of Pediatrics, Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP
Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know, Academy of Pediatrics; edited by William H Dietz, MD, PhD, FAAP and Loraine Stern, MD, FAAP, 2011
Feeding the Kids: the Flexible, No-Battles, Healthy Eating System for the Whole Family by Pamela Gould; Mancala Press, 2007
First Meals by Annabel Karmel; DK Publ, 2004
Healthy Lunchbox by Marie McClendon; Small Steps Press, 2005
How to Feed a Teenage Boy: Recipes and Strategies by Georgia Orcutt; Celestal Arts, 2007
Just Two More Bites! Helping Picky Eaters Say Yes to Food by Linda Piette; Three Rivers Press, 2006
Food Fights ; Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed With Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup, American Academy of Pediatrics, Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP, and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Guide to Your Child's Nutrition, American Academy of Pediatrics, by William H. Md Phd Dietz and Loraine M. Stern
Kid Shape Café. Naomi Neufeld.
The Sneaky Chef. Missy Chase Lapine.
How to Get Your Child to Eat - But Not Too Much. Ellyn Satter.
Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family. Ellyn Satter.
Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. Ellyn Satter.
Sports Success Rx! Your Child's Prescription for the Best Experience: How to Maximize Potential AND Minimize Pressure, American Academy of Pediatrics, By Paul R. Stricker, MD, FAAP
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