1. How do I know if my child is overweight?
Calculation of the Body Mass Index (BMI) can help us assess whether your child is overweight or obese. BMI can be calculated as follows;
BMI = child’s weight (kg)/ [child’s height (metres)]2
For example 6 year old boy weighing 24 kg with a height of 110 cms.
BMI= 22/ (1.1)2 = 22/1.21 = 19.8 kg/m2
As per the BMI chart below his, BMI is above 95 percentile, hence this boy is obese.
2. Is it good to know that my child is obese?
Dr Vaishakhi Rustagi says, No, it is not good to have an obese child. Healthy children have their BMI’s between 3rd to 85th percentiles.
3. Why is it not good to be obese or overweight?
Being overweight and obese predisposes your child to a number of complications in the future. A number of studies have proven that obese and overweight children are more likely to cause:
- Diabetes mellitus
- High blood pressure
- Sleep disorders
- Psychological issues like depression and anxiety.
4. What causes children to be overweight?
An imbalance between the calorie intake and calorie expenditure is the cause of overweight. Eating high-calorie junk foods, an excess quantity of food, lack of physical activity, high screen time (mobile, computer, video games, Television) are the causes of overweight. However few hormonal conditions like thyroid, growth hormone disorders, etc. can also cause obesity.
6. Do we need to see a specialist if our child is overweight?
Yes, a specialist like a Pediatric Endocrinologist can find out the cause of obesity as it could be because of an imbalance of hormones too.
7. Do we need some tests if our child is overweight?
Yes, the Pediatric Endocrinologist will decide which tests are required and would advise the treatment accordingly.
8. Is there anything that I can do to get my child to a healthy weight?
Yes, there are a number of things you can do to keep your children healthy
- Provide them with a healthy balanced diet.
- Avoid processed and junk food.
- Limit the screen time to 1-2 hours/day.
- Ample outdoor physical activity like playing, dancing, sports activity for 1-2 hours per day.
- Visit your doctor for a regular follow up, so that he or she can follow your child's BMI over time. Let your Endocrinologist know if you are having trouble meeting the above goals then other interventions can be made to reach a healthy weight.