My son is 6 years old, and I just got his BMI report card from school. It says he is overweight. What does that mean? What do I do now?
BMI, or body mass index, is a calculation that uses height and weight to estimate how much body fat a person has. Childhood obesity is on the rise and in response many schools are adding BMI to the annual health screening of their students.
Though some parents are uncomfortable with the idea of a BMI report card, a child who is overweight is at increased risk of developing health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Parents are encouraged to share this information with their child's doctor, who can help interpret the results and make recommendations.
Here are some tips to help kids maintain a healthy weight:
- Encourage kids to be active every day. Experts recommend that kids get 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.
- Offer fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks and encourage your child to eat five or more servings a day.
- Serve appropriate portion sizes.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and offer low-fat milk or water instead.
- Limit time spent in front of a screen, including TV and computers, to less than 2 hours a day.
- Set a good example by eating healthy, being physically active, and limiting the time you spend in front of a screen.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2012
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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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