How Can You Tell If Your Child Is Overweight?
Before deciding that your child is (or isn’t) overweight, it’s important to consult with your doctor. It’s easy for a parent’s perception to be skewed in either direction by their own body issues, or by their love for their child. Ask your child’s doctor outright “Is my child overweight or obese? Is this something we need to be concerned about at this time? Is there anything that I should be doing as a parent to respond to this?” Please note, you may want to ask these questions of your doctor privately, out of earshot of your child.
Listen to your doctor carefully; it’s easy to get defensive or try to minimize less-than-ideal feedback. They are a neutral third party that you have chosen to trust with your child’s health. Trust that they are giving you the truth that is in the best interest of your child.
If you don’t have easy access to a doctor, you can check your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI). However, BMI is only an indicator and not a medical diagnosis, and there has been a lot of criticism about the accuracy of BMI charts. It’s preferable to speak directly with your child’s doctor who has examined them in person rather than strictly relying on BMI calculations.
It’s also important to consult with a doctor because there are some ages (like infants) where children may appear to be above average in size, but there is no cause for concern. Your doctor is familiar with childhood growth patterns and can easily recognize when there is cause for concern – and when there isn’t.