When To Worry About Your Child’s Weight? Learn BMI Now!
Is my child underweight, or overweight as per their age is a frequent question of many parents. According to the most recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5, performed in 2019–21), 3.4% of children under 5 are now overweight, up from 2.1% in 2015–16.
Childhood obesity is a pressing concern in India. Every parent should be conscious about the healthy weight of their child to tackle this situation. Let’s understand when to worry about your Child’s weight.
Body mass index: Body mass index (BMI) is a formula that calculates a person’s percentage of body fat in comparison to lean body mass or muscles with the help of height and weight. Though it does not tell the complete story, it is a good indicator to estimate a kid’s BMI.
The paediatrician recommends calculating ‘BMI for age’ once per year. If Child’s BMI is fluctuating, he or she requires lifestyle modification to maintain a healthy body weight. Recognising trends timely can be beneficial to make simple changes before weight gain becomes an issue.
How to calculate BMI?
Different BMI formulas require the calculation of height and weight accurately, the results are more precise with the help of doctors or experts in a school setting. The BMI calculator is an easy way to obtain the BMI of your child.
The following categories characterise a Child’s weight:
Underweight: BMI below the 5th percentile
Healthy weight: BMI falls between the 5th and 85th percentile
Overweight: BMI falls between the 85th and 95th percentile
Obese: BMI equal to or above the 95th percentile
Children and teenagers who are overweight run the risk of developing weight-related health issues as adults, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Moreover, those who are obese are more likely to experience chronic health issues including heart disease.
BMI at puberty: As children undergo rapid development throughout puberty, BMI may be challenging to evaluate. Although BMI is not a precise measurement of body fat, it is often a decent indicator.
BMI and genes: As we know, weight and body shape are determined by genetic predisposition. However, we just cannot blame heredity, an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits are vital to maintaining fitness in kids.
Did you know? obese children have lower participation in classrooms, experience anxiety and depression as well as have poor self-esteem. Parents and schools can play a vital role in preventing childhood obesity by creating awareness, promoting preventive screening, and encouraging planned dietary habits.
If your child is not gaining weight or is not able to lose weight, you can discuss BMI results with a paediatrician. Exercise, playing outdoors, limiting screen time, and cutting down on sugar and junk food can help your child keep up with ideal weight.