According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every six children in the United States is overweight. An overweight child is at constant risk of developing health complications, and it is imperative that you take the necessary measures to correct or at the very least, manage the situation.
But first things first; how do you even tell that your child is overweight? Here’s a checklist of some of the things you need to be on the lookout for as far as your kid’s weight is concerned;
Body Mass Index (BMI) – The BMI is sex and gender specific. Be sure to use tools such online BMI calculator or charts to determine if your child has the correct BMI depending on his or her age.
Weight-to-Height-Ratio – Measure your child height and divide the weight in pounds by their height in meters squared. Just like the BMI download growth charts online to check if your baby has the correct weight-to-height-ration based on his or her age.
Let the doctor measure your baby’s waist circumference to determine if the weight is natural or there’s an excess layer of fat around the belly. A larger than average waist circumference is an indication that your child is overweight.
Other ways of determining if your child is overweight include;
- Measuring the waist-to-hip ratio
- Asking the doctor to carry out bioelectrical impedance tests
- Requesting your doctor to measure the skinfold thickness
If your baby is found to be overweight, it is time to take the necessary steps to help regain the healthy weight. Here are some of the measures that will assist in keeping the young one’s weight in check;
Give Him or Her Breast Milk as Long Possible
According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, breastfeeding will prevent the child from eating extra food and thus you should do it as long as possible. Of course, the amount and intervals of breastfeeding will vary depending on the child’s age. Ideally, a newborn baby should take 1.5 to 3 ounces of breast milk every 2 to 3 hours. A six months old baby, on the other hand, will need 6 to 8 ounces f breast milk every 4 to 5 hours.
Have a Proper Diet Plan
Stick to a healthy diet once the baby has started to wean. The primary reason most kids become overweight is feeding on unhealthy foods. Avoid juices and opt of iron cereals especially when the child is just starting to take solid foods. Also be sure to introduce solid food to the child at the right age. Studies show that your baby is likely to become overweight if he or she starts to eat solid food too early.
Ensure That the Baby is Active
One of the easiest ways to counter obesity in babies is to keep them active. Buy the little one toys so that he or she can stay engaged. Allow him or her to crawl, kick legs and stretch hands. There’s less likelihood that your baby will become overweight if you keep him or her active. Be sure to read the post on how to create a playroom for toddlers for more info on how you can start the quest to keep your child active on the right foot.
Seek Your Doctor’s Advice
At times, your baby may be overweight due to a medical condition. It is always wise that you consult with your doctor on the best ways to take care of your overweight baby. Take the child to the physician so that it can be determined if or she has the correct weight in comparison to his or her height and age. Among other things, the doctor may detect unusual growth or any other factors that may lead to an increase in weight in the future.
Offer the Necessary Support
Being overweight can lower your child’s self-esteem especially if he or she is of school going age. Be there to talk to your baby and make them feel loved. Help the kid achieve specific goals and most importantly reward the so that they can feel part of the whole process.
When your child becomes overweight, the first step is to figure out what to you can do help his or her regain the healthy weight. Better yet, avoid feeding patterns that would get your kid obese in the first place. You also need to understand that it might take time before the correct weight is restored so be patient.