Weight is one of those unavoidable topics that we are forced to take a look at now and then, but it’s no longer just about the shapes and sizes of the adults. Many parents wonder if their child is in a healthy weight range, too skinny, or a little overweight, and it’s a common question that health professionals are asked.
As adults and parents, it’s our responsibility to keep a check on our children’s weight but not to put too much emphasis on it. There should be no counting calories or weekly weigh-ins like we torture ourselves with, as children have unique bodies and are going through significant stages of growth and change.
So, what is the healthy weight for kids and how can you tell if your child might be slightly out of that range? There are a few calculators available that can give you an idea of your child’s weight range, but mainly it’s about teaching them the importance of good nutrition and exercise. As parents, we need to try and forge a healthy relationship between food and our kids and lead by example where we can.
What is the Healthy Weight For Kids?
No two children are the same, whether it’s mentally or physically, so deciding on an exact weight that is recommended for kids of a certain age is ludicrous, as there are plenty of factors to consider. However, if you’re after a rough guideline for what the healthy range of weight is for kids there are some handy calculators online, one being found on the Healthy Kids website by the Australian Government.
The calculator uses the weight, height, and age of your child to determine if they’re staying within the healthy range as they grow, and it can be used for kids from two to 18 years old. The site gets their information from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention which uses a BMI for age calculation, just as you do with adults.
According to the site, it’s best to check your child’s weight and growth every few months if you are concerned, and mark down the results to share with your GP. However, for children who seem within the healthy range and aren’t causing any concerns, you don’t need to be strict about keeping a check on them.
What Can I Do To Improve the Nutrition of My Children?
If you do find that your child is above the healthy weight range, this could lead to some potential health concerns. According to the Healthy Kids website, children who are above the healthy weight range can develop conditions including asthma, sleep problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and issues with their joints. Children who are underweight may be malnourished or suffering from other health conditions, so this needs to be assessed by a health professional.
Thankfully, most children will grow into healthy and happy adults provided you can give them adequate nutrition and exercise. These are a few simple ways that you can give them a balanced diet and keep them interested in eating good food.
Kids in the Kitchen
Get your children into the kitchen with you and allow them to help you prepare meals and snacks. This can keep them involved and teach them about the importance of creating nutritional meals that are as free from processed ingredients as possible.
There are some simple swaps you can do to improve nutrition, and your kids won’t be the wiser. Pre-made muesli bars are often packed full of sugar, so make your own on the weekends and use them for the week. Get rid of fruit juices in their lunchbox and swap for a pop top water bottle and some fresh strawberries.
Snacks are one of the danger areas when it comes to empty calories, as the ones with the highest do little to fill you up. Some healthy snacks for kids include bananas, popcorn, and homemade muffins.
Fruit juice drinks, flavoured milk, and soft drinks are all packed full of sugar and can be a leading cause of obesity. Ensure your children drink only water and you can even add some fresh fruit to a water diffuser bottle to give it a naturally sweet taste.
Emphasis on Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for growing kids, and giving them an adequate breakfast will help them stay focused at school and prevent them from reaching for unhealthy snacks in the morning.
Unfortunately, there’s no rule book when it comes to parenting, so knowing when, what, and how much to feed our children can be a struggle even at the best of times. For more advice on parenting we invite you to explore our other Peachymama posts.