Childhood is supposed to be one blissful age where your weight does not matter. You are not fat shamed. You don’t care if your legs look a certain way in a certain garb. However, the same cannot be said for many parents.
Childhood obesity is very big risk, and while some parents don’t mind the size of their child, others become concerned when they children start to gain weight.
Even though it is arbitrary, but BMI –body mass index –is usually the standard relied on by the Pediatrician in Lahore. They calculate and use the figure to signal to the parents if there is a need for dietary interventions in the child.
But what is BMI?
BMI is a measure of the ratio of your child’s weight and heigh, at a particular age. However, this figure is generally not considered to be representative.
There are other factors that doctors also tend to consider. Genetics are one such factor; certain ethnicities and families are more likely to weigh more. Hence, comparing them to the relative skinnier people is not a fair comparison.
Moreover, there are other factors that ought to be considered as well, like metabolism, growth trends, body size, body composition etc.
Once all these are accounted for, your pediatrician can then answer the question about your child’s health and risk for obesity better. Similarly, they can also assess their health if the child is underweight; remember, being under and overweight, both, are not healthy.
So, what should the parents do with the BMI?
Since we are living in a world where being thin and skinny is important, especially for girls, therefore, parents can get concerned when their child falls in the higher percentile.
However, it is important that this topic be broached with sensitively, with the aid of a professional. BMI does not take into account the growth pattern of your child. It also does not consider body composition, which is important. Naturally, having high fat and low BMI is not good, as opposed to high BMI and lean muscle.
Moreover, it is vital that proper steps be taken, as otherwise, the mental and the physical health of the child may suffer. Some helpful things to do if you fear your child is heading towards obesity, especially if it tends to run in your family, include:
Encourage healthy eating
Counting calories is never healthy, especially when it comes to children. You need to not get them started on fad diets and trends but encourage healthy eating patterns.
Practice of eating healthy is sustainable and is also important for the growth of the children. So, try to feed them more fruits and vegetables. Cut out refined flour from your house. Sugar should be a rarity. Watch the calories in the drinks.
However, more important still is to make them realize how important healthy eating is for them. If you force them to it, chances are they might rebel. So, try to encourage healthy habits from the grassroot levels.
Then, even if they weigh more, but at least they are taking a healthy diet. Remember, skinny is not the goal, healthy is.
Encourage physical activity
A great risk of obesity is posited by lack of adequate physical activity. This is more common in children who are hooked to their screens and the games.
Therefore, it is important that you encourage your child to be physically active. It is crucial not just for their weight, but physical activity is also important for to have strong bones. Exercise also allows for the release of endorphins, which improves their mood.
Moreover, exercise is also good for getting rid of stress and anxiety. It is also helpful for improved cognitive functioning. So, make sure that you encourage physical activity in your family.
Throughout the process, don’t forget to keep with your appointments with Dr. Ibrahim Yusuf, so that they can monitor your child’s progress.