When to Worry About Your Child’s Weight
By Natalie Suttmoeller, RN BSN CCRN CBN
As a parent and professional who is actively engaged in the obesity community, it is easy to see how in society our children are becoming overweight. Around every corner is a fast food restaurant that caters to the palate of a child. There are print ads in magazines to tempt our children and on television, there are ads that market directly to those young minds. After a long day at work, it is easy to just agree to lose the fight and hope that you win the overall battle. Parental empowerment sounds really great but when you are driving home to a screaming kid after soccer practice, Plan B takes on a whole new meaning.
Obesity in children is generally defined as more than 20% above ideal body weight for the particular height and age. If your child is maintaining their weight, not jumping percentiles, or staying consistently above 100% marker on the growth charts, you are probably headed in the right direction. For the hard numbers on your particular situation, an appointment with your pediatrician is strongly encouraged. It is recommended that you not discuss your child’s weight in front of your child. Let the pediatrician assess the situation. Many parents who have struggled with their weight may be hyper focused on their children in hopes of sparing them the lifelong battle. Pediatricians can be very helpful in bridging the gap with your child in developing healthy habits leaving you the parent out of the hot seat.
There are also many online resources available to you at no cost which are easily found on the internet. Some of the topics include; dealing with childcare and school issues, assessing your home environment, overcoming setbacks, evaluating snacking behaviors, and the list goes on. Some of the topics available can help you not only to evaluate your particular household circumstances but also offer reasonable suggestions for fixing some of those pesky unhealthy lifestyle problems that have magically made their way into your home.
While this may seem like an overwhelming task, the good news is there is help and all hope is not lost. First and foremost before pointing that finger at your child, be sure you are taking a good hard look at your own personal habits. Children will often model the behaviors of their parents. You cannot expect success from your child if you demand they eat a carrot stick when you have a cheeseburger in your hand. Being a great role model is the best way to maintain long term sustainable results for your family.