Question

Children's Health & Development

My three-year-old son looks plump. Is he overweight?

What the Expert Says

By Cyrus Yeong

Nutritionist at Nature’s Farm

Bachelor in Food Technology, University of Science, Malaysia

Nature’s Farm is a specialist health supplements, honey and health foods chain in Singapore since 1982.

http://www.naturesfarm.com/

Physical appearance may not be the best gauge of whether your child is overweight. Physical gauge of appearance is often subjective. It is always best to refer to the growth charts in your child’s health booklet to gauge if he is overweight in reference to other children of the same age and gender.

Understanding the Growth Chart

The higher the percentile number, the bigger your child is compared to other children his age. So, if your 3-year-old is in the 90th percentile for weight, it simply means that 90 per cent of 3-year-old boys weigh the same as, or less than your child, and 10 per cent weigh more. Talk to your doctor if you are not sure if you are reading the chart correctly. Do note that the charts only indicates how heavy your child is compared to his peers, if you see a sharp rise in your kid’s position on the chart, check with a doctor if you need to improve his eating habits and activity levels.

Overweight? Have More Home-Cooked Food 

If your child is overweight or obese, you may like to start serving him a wider variety of healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables. Try to limit dining out to once or twice a week where possible, instead have more healthy home-cooked meals. When you do eat out, try to avoid sugary foods, fast foods and deep-fried/oily foods. Just as important, try to instil a healthy interest in sports and outdoor activities – children learn by watching their parents, so take the lead in planning for outdoor/sports activities. While promoting better health, this is also a great opportunity for parent-child bonding!

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