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Weight gain in children is very individual. Genetic predisposition and environmental factors play an important role above all. However, eating habits developed already in infancy are also important. How the baby's diet looked like affects the correct weight of the child's preschool or school age.
Underweight or overweight Calculate the child's BMI
Instead of comparing your child to its peers and stress unnecessarily, it's better to use a proven tool. This is the BMI of a child over 1 year of age, which determines the relationship between height and weight. To calculate it, use the following formula:
BMI = body weightł kg: (height)2 cm
For the indicator for children over 1 year old, the result should be interpreted in relation to the percentile grid. Otherwise, the information received will not be reliable.
To simplify calculations and save time, you can use online calculators. Such tools allow the child's BMI to be determined along with a short interpretation. By entering the parameters, in a few seconds you will find out if the child is overweight, underweight or weighs correctly.
Enter information such as:
- child's sex
- age (in months),
- body weight (in kilograms),
- height (in centimeters).
Example 1. Cóthe hand is 30 months old. It weighs 14 kg and measures 90 cm. Calculations show that the BMI is 17.7. The child is overweight - in the 90th percentile.
Example 2. The son is 31 months old. His weight is 12 kg, and height - 89 cm. The BMI is 15.1 - the child has normal body weight and is in the 25th percentile.
Example 3. The daughter is 36 months old. It weighs 14 kg and measures 99 cm. According to the calculator, the BMI is 13.3 - that is underweight. The child is in the 3rd percentile.
Overweight and underweight - causes
There are many causes of overweight and obesity in children. Some of them result from, among others with:
- maternal obesity before pregnancy,
- too fast weight gain of a pregnant woman,
- carbohydrate disorders, e.g. diabetes.
Most often, however, problems with normal body weight appear as a result of overfeeding. Systematically providing your child with a larger portion of calories than is apparent from their energy needs with low physical activity, will result in rapid weight gain.
However, the reasons for underweight include:
- insufficient food supply,
- incorrect use of food products,
- increasing energy needs,
- psychogenic factors, e.g. emotional tensions, intra-family relations 1.
How to take care of the correct weight of the child?
The correct weight of a child largely depends on eating habits. Therefore, the first step towards fighting overweight or underweight is to adjust your daily diet.
- Bet on a variety of meals
A varied menu is a guarantee that your child will receive all the necessary nutrients. Try to avoid the so-called one-sided diet, e.g. flour meal with simultaneous protein deficiency - this increases the risk of body growth caused by the accumulation of excess water2.
- Adjust the caloric content of meals to your child's needs
The daily energy requirement of a child in the second year of life is 1200-1300 kcal3. To avoid being overweight or underweight, stick to these values. You must take into account physical activity.
- Don't limit fats
If you're afraid of being overweight with your baby, don't reduce fat. In the first 3 years of a child's life, this nutrient is necessary for brain development and at the same time is a rich source of energy.
Take care of the increased consumption of fish, which are an excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids (including DHA).
- Exclude sugar from your diet
Giving children sweets and sweetened drinks negatively affects eating habits - it consolidates these bad practices. In addition, it increases the risk of overweight and obesity - also in adulthood.
If it is necessary to serve something sweet, replace the candies with dried fruit, and ready cakes with homemade pastries.
Finally, one more piece of advice: never force your child to eat. Refusing to eat is a temporary condition that passes quickly. By forcing meals into your child, you cause even greater resentment.