Childhood growth is a strong sign of health. In order to monitor growth and development, all children should have their height and weight plotted on a growth chart at every trip to the doctor’s office. This helps to provide a picture of the child’s growth and an opportunity for parents and the medical team to measure changes over time. All children with significant changes in their body mass index (ratio of their height to their weight) should be examined.
At Well Child visits, your pediatrician may show you a growth chart with your child’s BMI – or body mass index – plotted on a graph. It’s essentially a measurement to see whether a child’s height and weight are in proportion compared to kids of the same gender and age. In other words, if a child measures in the 60th percentile, that means 60 percent of kids of the same age and gender had the same or lower BMI. Kids who measure in the 85th percentile or above are considered overweight, while the 95th percentile and above are obese. But what should parents keep in mind when thinking about the numbers?
This week, federal health authorities reported a 43 percent drop in the obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-old children over the past decade, the first broad decline in an epidemic that often leads to lifelong struggles with overweight and increased risks for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. Read the full article on nytimes.com.