Kids at any age seem to be just perfect for their parents. When it comes to their weight issues, especially in toddlers, it becomes difficult for parents to comprehend whether it’s just baby fat or their child is actually leading towards obesity! Well, if you are a conscious parent and wish to know whether your toddler is overweight and other toddler obesity facts, reading this post will prove to be highly beneficial!
What Is Toddler Obesity?
As strange as it may sound, but toddler obesity is becoming a cause of concern. It shows an upward trend, with approximately 14 per cent of kids (2 to 5 years of age) in America falling into the obese category. This percentage is higher in lower-income households. Apart from facing health issues, obesity also puts kids at risk of developing health complications later in life. It can become difficult for the kids to shift from the obese category to the healthy category later in life because of unhealthy lifestyle habits.
The AAP or American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that parents should calculate their toddler’s BMI or body mass index to establish whether their kid falls in a normal, overweight, or obese category or if parents are looking for a ‘is my toddler overweight’ calculator!
Toddler’s Growth & BMI
Measuring your child’s growth and development together can help you establish whether or not your kid is overweight or has any weight issues, and BMI is an effective parameter in helping you know is my toddler overweight!
At around two years of age, BMI or body mass index can be helpful in knowing the size and weight of your child! If your child falls in the 85th percentile or higher category, it means that your child comes in the overweight category. However, if it falls into 95th percentile or higher than that, then it indicates obesity!
Just like in adults, calculating BMI can help you know in which range of percentile your child falls into, but it may not be a clear indicator of your child’s health.
Weight & Length Percentiles of Toddler
In case your kid is less than two years of age, then the percentiles of your child’s weight and length are taken into consideration to establish the child’s growth and development.
However, parents should not worry or obsess about these percentiles until they show consistency in their growth curve. For example, if the child is below the 75th percentile and healthy and is eating well, there is no reason to fret or be concerned. But at the same time, if there is a sudden jump or fall in the percentile, you need to take note of the same and get in touch with your doctor to establish the sudden changes in the growth curve.
How to Know If Your Toddler Is Overweight
Just like your child acquires various skills and crosses many growth and development milestones, your child’s weight also becomes an important indicator of your child’s health. And sometimes just a few kilograms more or less could make a significant difference. However, as kids start to walk, they may start shedding the extra weight.
Many options, such as the CDC calculator, can help parents know whether their kid comes in the underweight, normal, overweight, or obese category. However, this tool is most viable for kids who are two years or older as this is the tool that health professionals and doctors take into consideration to measure the body mass index or BMI growth charts for this age kids.
Toddler Overweight Causes
Here are some toddler obesity causes:
- Irregular meal or snack routine: If your child is eating all through the day or does not have a fixed meal or snack schedule, it may sometimes lead to excess weight.
- Lack of physical exercise: Toddlers who are not indulged in regular physical activity or exercise may end up gaining weight.
- The portion size: Apart from keeping a tab on the meal schedule, it is also important to check the portion size. Larger portions mean more calories, which in the long run could lead to adding more weight to the child’s frame.
- Family factors: Sometimes, kids tend to gain weight because of their genes, which means if the parents are overweight or obese and thus, they tend to pass it on to their kids too.
What You Can Do If Your Toddler Is Overweight
If you are thinking about what can you do as a parent if your toddler is overweight, well, here are a few things that you can do for your overweight or obese toddler:
- Make healthy food choices: Include food that is more nutritious and healthier in your overweight toddler’s diet. This means to include more green vegetables, fresh fruits, and other such food groups in your child’s daily diet.
- Focus on quality rather than quantity: Parents often tend to overfeed their kids; however, the focus should not be on quantity but feeding quality food, which means including all the food groups in moderation.
- Make gradual changes: You should not bring in sudden changes in your child’s diet to knock off the extra kilos. You should make gradual changes, which means that if your child is consuming three cups of milk in a day, you may bring it down to two or one, instead of stopping it completely!
Tips for Your Toddler to Stay Healthy
Once you keep track of your child’s BMI and you feel that your child’s weight is becoming a cause of concern, you should definitely bring it to your pediatrician’s notice and meanwhile, here are some tips on toddler obesity prevention that you can adopt for your toddler to stay healthy:
- Let your child eat on his own; doing this can not only help your child know about his hunger and let him have his fullness cues, but this may also help your child in knowing when to stop.
- Limit your child’s juice or sweetened drinks intake as it leads to consuming more amounts of calories. Apart from reducing the portion size, you can also add water to the juice to dilute it.
- Include more vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and other such healthier food choices in your child’s diet and give them to your child at regular intervals to keep hunger pangs or unhealthy munching at bay.
- Reduce the intake of processed, fast foods or foods that are loaded with calories and low in nutrition.
- Squeeze out sometime during the day to be active with your child, including running, playing in the park, cycling, and other such physical activities.
Before you overthink or become concerned about your overweight toddler’s health, it is important to remember that BMI does not define everything about your child’s health. You should talk to your pediatrician and make the required changes in your child’s lifestyle and diet.