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Is My Child Gaining Too Much Weight?

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About one out of every eight children is overweight. It may be difficult to tell if your child has gained too much weight. Growth in height and weight doesn’t always happen at the same time. If a child is heavy, it may simply mean that he or she is getting ready to grow taller. Parents often compare their children to other children of the same age. This is not very helpful because children come in all sizes and shapes. It is normal for some to be taller and heavier while others are shorter and lighter. 

If you are concerned about your child's weight, ask your doctor for advice. The doctor can use a growth chart to determine if your child is growing at an appropriate rate. If you have been recording your child’s height and weight at different ages, give this information to your doctor. This helps him or her when evaluating your child’s growth rate. 

There are different things that cause children to become overweight. The most common causes are a lack of exercise and unhealthy eating. 

If you find that your child is gaining too much weight, decide carefully what to do about it. Limiting the amount of food a child eats can be harmful. The child may feel a need to hide away food, or the child might overeat when food is available. The best thing to do for an overweight child is to encourage regular exercise and to help the child eat healthy meals and snacks. 

Here are some suggestions: 

  • Be a role model by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. 

  • Make sure that you have good food choices, like fresh fruit, available for snacks.

  • Limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV or playing video games. 

  • Plan for meals and snacks to be served on a regular schedule.

  • Encourage active play every day for your child.

  • Limit high-fat and high-calorie foods at your house.

  • Introduce healthy foods at an early age.

  • Make sure your children know that you will love them regardless of their size and shape.

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Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners

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