Pediatric Weight and BMI Concerns
Pediatric weight and BMI concerns are very delicate.
The way in which they’re handled can determine whether the child grows up to have a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and their body or begins a cycle of dieting, repeated weight gain and loss, self-loathing, and health problems.
Support for Childhood Weight Issues in Concord, NH
In our work with children and families, we’ve found that when health care providers address childhood weight issues, parents and guardians often feel blamed for or guilty about the situation.
Sometimes, those who care for children have struggled with their own weight and eating problems. Having the focus directed at the child’s weight often brings back unpleasant memories as well as a desire to protect the child from what they have gone through.
We are sensitive to these concerns and do not scold or blame parents and guardians.
It’s been established that dieting with a goal of weight loss not only doesn’t work in the long term, it also appears to lead to weight gain. We do not recommend putting children on weight loss diets.
Instead, we coach parents and guardians (and the child, depending on age) on how to help their child build a healthy body with good nutrition and regular activity—the exact same things that are needed by all children regardless of their size or weight.
If you’d like help improve your child’s/family’s health by eating better and moving more, here’s how it would work:
- We would meet (without your child) to discuss the situation.
- We would obtain and review your child’s growth charts with you to see if your child has always trended on the large size or if there has been a marked and unexpected increase in rate of weight gain and/or BMI.
- If the growth charts show an unexpected change, we’d work together to try to identify what caused this change.
- If you were interested, coaching would be provided on things you could do to help your child and your family be more successful with healthy eating and physical exercise with a goal of your child having a healthy body and growing up to the size their genes intended them to be.
If we decided it would help for your child to meet with us, we might talk with him/her about:
- Getting into a rhythm of regular meals and snacks (not skimping during the day);
- Having permission to eat some high calorie snack foods or sweets (and not sneak it);
- Using their cues for hunger and fullness to guide their intake (with a BIG focus on not eating when bored and stopping eating long enough between meals so they have an appetite for the next meal);
- Eating more of the nourishing foods they already like (but might not eat enough of);
- Moving their body more with a focus on fun, enjoyment, and health rather than weight loss. The fact that people come in all sizes and genetics plays a large role in this.