Recently, there has been a lot of attention paid to children’s weight and the problem of childhood obesity in the USA. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to the development of your child and can help reduce the risk of medical problems later on in life. However, gaining weight is all part of growing up, and there may be periods where you feel that your child is overweight, or even underweight for their age.
One way that parents can help is to learn about a useful tool called Body Mass Index (BMI). Today, we will take a quick look at how to maintain a healthy BMI in childhood, and the things parents can do to help.
What is the Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a formula which calculates whether you have a body mass based on your height and weight. Your pediatrician will usually check your child’s BMI during their annual well-child exams, so there is no need to worry about any complicated formulas to do by yourself.
There are many factors which determine a healthy BMI such as age, build muscular density; so, it important to mention any concerns you may have when you visit your pediatrician.
If your child is overweight, then it is essential to get advice and guidance as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the higher risk they will be at of developing some medical issues such as:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
- Bone and Joint Problems
- Social Problems due to bullying and teasing
How To Maintain A Healthy BMI
There are many things you can do as a parent to ensure that your child is a healthy weight; the obvious ones being a balanced diet and regular exercise. However, you have to make sure that you practice what you preach.
Provide your kids with a balanced diet, which offers a wide variety of different food groups. Not only will this ensure that they maintain a healthy weight, but it will also aid their mental and physical development. An example of a balanced diet include:
- lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grained foods
- low or non-fat dairy products
- lean meats
- limited amounts of sugars and saturated fats
- lots of water
- reasonable portions
Start Them On The Path Early
Get your kids into good habits by introducing them to healthy foods at a young age. When they start eating introduce different colored foods and get them into the habit of snacking on fruit.
Be A Role Model
Practice what you preach! You can’t expect your kids to eat healthily if you are continually eating candy and potato chips. Be mindful of this, even when they are babies, because they will want to try whatever it is that they see you eating.
Make Play Time An Active Time
When your little ones start moving around, incorporate lots of movement into your games with them. Once they are walking, get them to do regular exercise so that they are moving about and burning calories.
Games like tag and ‘hide and seek’ can be fairly energetic, as can dancing, using a jump rope, or playing catch. All of these games will help with their coordination, as well as helping them to get into the habit of being active.