Body Mass Index and Childhood Obesity

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Did you know that in the past 30 years, rates of obesity in children doubled and quadrupled in adolescents? One third of children in the US are now overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese at a young age can predispose kids to diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, and cancer. How can parents find out if their kids are overweight or obese? Well, it involves more than stepping on a scale. You’ll need to calculate your child’s BMI or Body Mass Index.

What is a Healthy Body Mass Index?

You can go to the CDC website or visit your pediatrician to find out your child’s BMI.  The BMI will place your child into a percentile according to a national survey that compares children of the same sex and age.

Normal or healthy weight status is based on a BMI between the 5th and 85th percentile on the CDC growth chart. So, if your child falls between the 85th and 95th percentile, he or she is considered overweight. Children at or above the 95th percentile are considered obese.

Mastering Your Child’s Body Mass Index: Excessive Weight Prevention

Preventing your children from becoming overweight or obese begins with you, the parent. By modeling healthy eating early on, your child is more likely to continue this habit throughout life. But what exactly is healthy eating? Instead of making cupcakes and cookies an everyday go-to for them, present them with low-calorie, low-fat sweet treats like an apple, a cup of strawberries, or a banana all of which are under 100 calories. Fruits (unlike cupcakes) also provide vitamins and minerals.

Calorie monitoring, which heavily depends on your child’s gender and age, should help with maintaining a normal weight. Generally, you want to provide mostly lean meats and vegetables for your family. Based on a 600 to 2,200 calorie diet, your daily starchy carbohydrate limit should be between 100 and 278 grams a day.

Finally, be sure to schedule lots of exercise and movement into your child’s day and encourage them to move around! Children need about an hour of exercise a day, including high-intensity playing. Exercise is the perfect match to a healthy diet in maintaining a normal weight.

With many healthier meal options and fun “active” activities to do in Longview and Tyler, it’s easy to get your kids eating and moving as they should be.