Children’s Healthy Weight
A healthy weight is important to prevent poor health in childhood and as we become adults. More children and adults than ever before are overweight or obese. An unhealthy weight can seriously affect children’s physical health and their mental wellbeing.
Whatever your child’s current weight there are lots of small changes you can make which will help the whole family to reach and stay a healthy weight. Eating a range of different foods in the right amounts and doing enough physical activity each day will have huge benefits.
Why is unhealthy weight an issue?
Being overweight or very overweight harms children and has increased risks as they become adults. These include:
- Low self esteem
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Bone and joint problems
- Breathing difficulties
- More likely to be absent from school due to illness
- More likely to be overweight as adults
Helping children to reach and stay a healthy weight will reduce their risk of poor health, such as those risks listed above. It will increase their self confidence as well as improving their concentration and behaviour. Children are fitter and healthier if they are a healthy weight.
How do I tell if my child is a healthy weight?
It can be difficult to tell if a child is a healthy weight or not just by looking at them. The number of children who are overweight or very overweight has been increasing. We are now more used to seeing bigger children which makes it hard to judge by sight or by comparing them with other children who may not be a healthy weight.
If your child is in Reception or Year 6 you will have the choice for them to be weighed and measured at school. The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) records the weight and height of 4-5 year olds and 10-11 year olds during their first and last primary school year. If you have chosen for your child to take part in the NCMP then you will receive a letter home telling you your child’s weight and category; underweight, healthy weight, overweight or very overweight.
If your child is not in these school years you can use the NHS Healthy Weight Calculator to find out if they are a healthy weight. You will need to enter their gender, age, height and weight (make sure that these measurements are accurate) in to the online calculator and it will tell you their weight category.
If you are concerned about your child’s weight you speak to your school nurse or GP.
How can I help my child if they are not a healthy weight?
There are lots of small changes you can make to help your child reach a healthy weight.
Children learn from adults as their role models, so what we do they are likely to copy us. It is important that children see adults doing the same things we are asking them to do. By also changing our diet and exercise behaviour as adults we can enjoy the healthier benefits along with children.
Eating well is important to be a healthy weight. To find out more about the right foods to eat and in what amounts visit Change4Life .
Daily physical activity is also essential in reaching and staying a healthy weight. Change4Life has lots of ideas to get children moving more.