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 screen time (time spent watching TV, playing video games, using a smartphone, computer, or other device) 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: September 2015
|Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|ChooseMyPlate.gov ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information on how to follow the U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It includes resources and tools to help families lead healthier lives.|
|How Can Families Be Healthier? Involving the whole family is the best way to promote healthful eating and activities for your kids.|
|Body Mass Index (BMI) Charts Doctors use body mass index (BMI) measurements to assess a child's physical growth in relation to other kids the same age. Here's how to calculate BMI and understand what the numbers mean.|
|Your Child's Weight "What's the right weight for my child?" is one of the most common questions parents have. It seems like a simple one, but it's not always easy to answer.|
|Kids and Exercise Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges.|
|Overweight and Obesity It's an alarming statistic: 1 out of 3 U.S. kids are considered overweight or obese. Find out how to overcome overweight and obesity in your own family.|
|Keeping Portions Under Control Waistlines have been expanding over the last few decades. Part of the problem is what we eat, but another is quantity. Are our plates simply piled too high?|
|Motivating Kids to Be Active Parents can help instill a love of activity and help kids make it a part of their everyday routine.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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