Weight Management

How do I know if my child is overweight?

Your doctor will use a chart to find out if your child might be overweight. Your child is overweight if he or she is heavier than 85 percent of other children who are the same age and height. If your child has bigger bones, he or she may weigh more because of that, not because of too much fat.

What can I do to keep my child from being overweight?

Weight problems can be very hard to fix, so it’s important to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to help you keep your child at a healthy weight:

  • Don’t make your child eat when he or she isn’t hungry–it’s OK if not every drink or every meal gets finished.
  • Don’t use food to comfort or to reward.
  • Don’t offer dessert as a reward for finishing a meal. Doing this teaches your child to value sweets more than other foods.
  • Offer your child a healthy diet. No more than 30 percent of all the calories your child eats should be fat calories. Ask your doctor or a dietitian to teach you about the right kinds of food to feed your child. Your child needs to get lots of fiber from fruits, vegetables and grains.
  • Don’t eat at fast-food restaurants more than once a week.
  • Limit how much TV your child watches. Try to get your child to do something active instead, like riding a bicycle or playing ball.
  • Spend time being active with your child–go on family walks and play outdoor games together whenever you can.
  • Teach your child good eating and exercise habits now to help him or her have a healthy life.