Weight issues are no longer just an issue for adults in Australia, they can also be a very real issue for children and adolescents. As children are still growing, it can be a bit tricky to work out whether or not they are a healthy weight for their age. Dietitians and health professionals use growth charts to analyse a child’s weight compared to their age and height.
If you’re worried about your child’s weight follow these steps:
1. Record everything they eat for at least 3 days. Make sure you jot down the portion sizes that they consume too.
2. While you’re keeping their food diary, also record how much physical activity they take. Do they walk to school, play soccer during recess, have karate lessons after school, wrestle with their brothers?
3. Record how much time they spend in front of screens playing computer games, studying or watching TV.
4. Measure their height and weight and write the details down in a safe place.
5. Armed with this information, make an appointment to see a dietitian. Your dietitian will be able to assess any changes that need to be made utilising this information. Your child doesn’t need to attend the first appointment.
It’s essential that lifestyle changes are made for the whole family in a way that doesn’t make your child feel self-conscious. Your dietitian will teach you what changes need to be focused on, and how to utilise some clever strategies to improve your child’s health without putting them on a ‘diet’.