A routine pediatrician’s visit usually involves regularly checking your child’s height and weight. Doctors monitor this on a growth chart which helps them evaluate whether they are growing along the normal curve.
How would I know if my child is overweight?
Doctors and nurses commonly weigh your child and plot it on a standard growth chart. Children above the 85th percentile are usually indicated as overweight, and those over the 95th percentile are considered obese.
What causes obesity amongst children?
Increased Calorie Intake: This is the main reason behind weight gain in children. When children eat and drink more than their bodies can process it often stores as fat.
Sedentary Lifestyle: Couple the above with no physical activity your child is bound to rise up the centiles in weight. Once children start walking, they are usually advised to remain active throughout the day, while consuming a healthy diet.
Genetics: Children who have parents that are overweight have a tendency to be overweight themselves. Although this is not always true, but the odds are more when compared to the general population. Studies have also noted that babies born to mothers who are overweight or diabetic during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight or obese themselves.
Medical Conditions: Rarely medical conditions affecting the production of hormones are known to cause weight gain. The most common ones are decreased thyroid hormone production, as well as increased cortisol production from the adrenal glands. Another infrequent cause could be as a side effect to certain medications.
What can I do to keep my baby’s weight in check?
Curb the carbs: Most people are under the assumption that sweets, chocolates and “junk” foods are the main causes for weight gain. While this is true, some seemingly healthy dishes are also adding in those calories. These includes:
Refined sugars: In addition to being present in candies and sweets, it is also found in their milk drink and fruit juice packs. Consuming these in high amounts are packing in the calories.
Bread and flour based products: These contain a high amount of carbohydrates. When broken down, a lot of the end products get stored as fat. Therefore these should be consumed in small amounts daily.
Rice and cereals: These are also made of grains which contain a lot of starch. Excess of this is also stored as fat.
As a parent, you should aim for a wholesome diet rich in natural fruits and vegetables. Opt for food rich in fibre, these include; wholegrain bread and rice, oats, lentils, grains and beans. Avoid giving your child unhealthy snacks, and come up with innovative healthy ones that keep your little one full longer.
Increase Physical Activities: This is a given to reduce the excess pounds. Children are more active followers of their parents at a young age. You need to show your child that you are also a part of a healthy lifestyle. Make time to play with your child and take them out for walks and play with them out in the park. Find them child playgroups to keep them active and away from the TV and food.
Don’t hesitate to consult a paediatrician: If you feel your child continues gaining weight despite the recent changes you have made do not wait to consult with a doctor. They are trained to guide you on the right path, and help diagnose any underlying conditions if any are there.
As your child’s natural caregiver, your ultimate goal is to encourage a kid’s natural tendency towards living an active and healthy lifestyle. Make it a daily routine and soon you will see changes in your family’s way of living.