It is the desire of all parents to have a child who has optimum weight depending upon his height and body structure. In case the child is overweight, he may be vulnerable to many medical problems. If he is underweight, then too he could be suffering from medical problems and both cases needs medical treatment. It is said that being overweight or underweight could be due to an eating disorder but this also requires medical or psychological attention.
Ideal Weight: The question then arises as to what is the optimum weight. Optimum weight depends upon height and body structure. Doctors have developed a chart to estimate how much a child or any individual should weigh and a healthy weight range has been prescribed. Though this formula is applicable for both adults and kids but the calculation is more complex in case of kids as compared to adults. For kids, below 20 BMI is plotted on a chart to tell as to if the child is underweight, normal or overweight and recently another category of obesity has been added. Of course ideal weight is different for boys and girls. The weight index has been divided into percentiles. A child up to 85th percentile is healthy and in between 85 to 95 percentile is considered overweight and above is case of obesity.
Complete accuracy is necessary to measure BMI, estimations may be misleading. Generally doctors keep a record of BMI over a period of time and this could be on a yearly basis. During puberty period BMI may vary. Variation over a period of time is an indicator of the child moving toward obesity or getting underweight due to some reason. People with a larger frame and having muscular body may have a higher BMI so aberrations need to be considered in individual cases.
Having once ascertained the optimum weight your child should have next comes the turn of maintaining the weight of the child. Except in case of abnormal weight changes for no reason, consistent efforts will be of help. However medical attention may be necessary in some cases. The doctor will first of all try to ascertain the dietary habits of the child and extent of physical activity the child has. After this he will suggest a dietary chart or recommend the case to a dietician.
During puberty: Parents should also keep in mind the stage of growth of the child. They should not worry much for the abnormal changes which may take place during puberty. During puberty lots of hormonal changes take place in the body of both boys and girls. Hormones are released to aid develop sex organs of both boys and girls. These hormones also accelerate weight and height gain. These changes continue for many years until a kid reaches full height. During this time structural changes take place in muscles, bones and fat accumulation. Balanced weight gain should not be a cause of concern, however if there is abnormal weight gain corrective action should be taken at once in right earnest.
Excess of weight or obesity could be a cause of many health problems in kids which were not generally noticed in them and were considered to be diseases for adults. These are type 2 diabetes, a high cholesterol level, high blood pressure and heart related problems. Due to this reason we hear of heart attacks occurring in case of teens. This state of the body needs to be controlled. Especially in case of girls to look beautiful and have a lean body many girls start to skip meals and remain hungry for a long time. This also has an adverse effect on the health of the child. Instead of skipping meals the child should be encouraged to have a balanced diet accompanied with lot of physical activity.
Developing the habit of balanced diet and physical activity right from early childhood will go a long way in keeping the child healthy when he enters adulthood and later part of life.