An overweight fussy eater?

Have you ever checked your child’s BMI?  After my friend checked her sons, I decided to check James’.  I didn’t think there would be anything to worry about.  In my opinion he doesn’t eat an excessive amount and he is very active. In fact he doesn’t sit still for long and even when he watches TV he is usually running around the room at the same time.  I was therefore quite shocked when it came up as James being overweight.  How did this happen?  Is my child fat?  Am I not seeing something? Have I done something wrong to let him get that way?

I told my husband, who frequently thinks James eats too many snacks, and he said he wasn’t surprised.  Well, I was surprised. I don’t think he eats any more snacks than other children his age.  I was expecting to be able to turn around to my husband and say he’s a normal weight, it’s fine if he has a snack.

James certainly doesn’t look skinny, and he may be more chunky than some other children his age but I had never thought that he was overweight. I was actually surprised that the NHS website gave a BMI for 2 years olds because aren’t they always constantly growing anyway?  James was 9 lbs when he was born and has never been small.  He was always around the 90th centile, so in theory the fact the NHS website is saying he is on the 94th centile is just tracking the curve that he always has done.  I had never had a health visitor tell me it was bad he was around the 90th centile.  I was always led to believe it was a good thing, but according to the NHS website anything over the 91st centile is considered overweight.

After discussing James’ weight with my husband we decided that we should just keep an eye on it.  He often goes through phases when he grows out and then he will go through a phase of growing upwards.  I have made a couple of small changes to his diet.  If he has a morning snack I have swapped it to wafers instead of a biscuit and limited his afternoon snack to a cereal bar.  Despite supposedly being overweight he doesn’t eat a lot of high fat or sugary foods and apart from at breakfast where he will drink some apple juice, the rest of the day he drinks water. It’s hardly the diet for someone considered to be overweight.

I think when most people think of fussy eaters they think of skinny children because they aren’t eating enough.  James on the other hand likes eating, but just things he likes.  I am not really sure what I am meant to be doing about James’ weight. He doesn’t eat a lot of junk food, I mean he may not eat fruit or vegetables, but he is not being plied with chocolate and cakes.  I am frequently taking him out so he can run around outside and he is an active child.  Maybe he is just meant to be the size he is?   We hear so much in the media these days about how more and more children are becoming overweight.  I didn’t think that applied to my child, so am now disappointed that he would be put into this category.  At the same time he is 2 years old and I am not going to put a 2 year old on a diet, and I certainly don’t want him growing up thinking he is too fat. Luckily James is really active and hopefully with the tinkering of his snacks (which he hasn’t been bothered by at all) his BMI will come down into the normal range before too long. To me he is perfect.  He is healthy and generally happy which is what should be important to children.


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