6 Yr Old Weight Issue???

Updated on January 12, 2010
A.R. asks from South Weymouth, MA
10 answers

Hi, my 6 yr old daughter has always been pretty average with her weight, she takes more after my husband who is a tall kinda big guy. Her weight has never been an issue at the dr, she was always in the 50th to 60th percentile. Well we just went for her well visit and she has jumped in weight to the 80th percentile and only 30th percentile for her height. She is a beautiful little girl, who literally stops poeple that tell her how beautiful she is constantly. I am so out of the loop on any of this weight stuff, because I am a tiny person and as a child was always under weight, and could eat bags of chips. This is also hard on me because I also have seen how skinny girls treat over weight girls, and it scares me to no end to think of my baby ever being teased. I am wandering if any of you are having this issue with your little ones, and if it is something I can help, or is it more genetic? The thing that confuses me so much is that my mother in law whom she looks just like is 5'8, very tall, and how my daughter is only in the 30th percentile for her height. I am only 5ft, but she is not built like me at all. I do not know what to do, she is always hungry. If I say no to a snack, she screams and then will just go and get it herself once I am out of the room. I realize how absolutely superficial this may sound, but I have a friend who her weight issues and being teased basicly ruined her life. She has been such a depressed person, and I watched how people treated her and I just would never ever want that for my daughter. Please any advice would help!! Thanks so much!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your kind advice! It has been helpful. I have thought in great deal over night about this and have decided I will make some changes on snacks and such, my daughter is in dance and basketball, so she has activities that are active. I as her mother feel that 1 I am not going to make this an issue with her, she is such a happy girl, and I would never want her to feel that their is something wrong with her because their is NOT!! She does not look overweight to me or anyone else, I feel she is growing out before up, but all and all, with all the hype with weight and such I just want her to be a happy 6 yr old, and a HEALTHY one. I am going to switch our snacks to carrots cucumbers fruit ect... Thanks again, you ladies are so wonderful!!!!!

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answers from Boston on

Instead of you trying to control her eating - have HER learn to control her own eating and she can do this by taking one of the many various classes now offered by local Boys and Girls Clubs or Y's that offer "Healthy Eating" classes for young girls. Some schools even offer these classes after school. My friend had a daughter with a similar issue and after she took the class, the daughter had learned in class how to eat healthier and did it on her own. If classes are not an option, then only keep healthy snack options - fresh fruit and veges - in the house so at least she is only eating healthy snacks. My last idea is to get her moving - dance classes, gymnastics, tennis - you can start to find many activities for her age group now. Good luck!

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answers from Indianapolis on

Genetics are a crazy thing. I'm dark haired, dark eyed (as is my husband), but we have one child with light hair. It's not supposed to work that way, but there must be a recessive gene in there somewhere.

She's only 6, so it is very possible she'll be going through a growth spurt and is putting weight on now in anticipation of it.

Was the pediatrician concerned about this change in her growth pattern?

I'd keep an eye on it over the next few months and make sure to offer her healthy snacks. With the number of 100 calorie products available that limit portions, you can offer few calories and a variety of products. Or, keep a bowl of fresh fruit around and see if she takes to that. Our kids often ask for apples, bananas, string cheese as snacks instead of chips/cookies because that's what they can see.

I'd also check the American Academy of Pediatric's website (AAP.org) to see what you can find on weight for her age and nutrition.

What I wouldn't do is bring it to her attention right now. You don't want her to be self-conscious of it at such a young age and possibly develop an issue down the road.

Good luck.

Worst case scenario, take her to another pediatrician for another opinion on whether or not it's an issue.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hi Amy,

This is a very complicated issue as, by the tone of your letter, I am sure you are aware.

Of course, you are concerned with your daughter's health. That is reasonable. It is also reasonable to be concerned with what you define as "superficial" issues of obesity. Teasing and taunting by peers is very traumatic for children. Naturally, you want to spare your daughter any trauma. Be careful, however, not to impose your own predjudices and anxieties on your daughter.

I remember when my son was a freshman in high school. We moved when I got remarried and we had a baby on the way. I was very concerned regarding his adjustment because I had also been moved after my freshman year in high school due to my parents' divorce. I was very traumatized by this move and never really readjusted. I was very anxious for my son. As it turned out my son reacted quite differently than I had and the move turned out to be a great change for him. He is currently in grad school and maintains close friendships with peers he met after our move in his sophomore year of high school. My son was active in the band and this affiliation provided the opportunity for him so form many close friendships. Bottom line: My son and I were very different people and my experiences were not the same as his.

As far as the eating. You are in charge of the food. Be in charge. If your daughter is sneaking food without your permission, than discipline is required. Traditionally, age 6 is not an age of rapid growth. Additionally, doctors follow trends. When your daughter's weight goes up to the 80th percentile in weight but is unchanged in height, this is a red flag.

It is certainly possible that your daughter's height will catch up, but you are correct to be concerned. As far as your mother in law's height: The fact that your daughter has alway's been in the 30th percentile for height doesn't mean she will not grow considerably during puberty. The odds are your daughter's height will be some average of your husband's and yourself allowing for differences of sex. For example, is you are 5'2" and your husband is 6'2" your daughter will probably be about 5'6"-5'7" at full height. Most tall people were always tall on the growth charts. Most petite people were always petite on the growth charts.

Being overweight is unhealthy. Obesity leads to diabetes, coronary artery disease and many other ailments. Obese children are less active and therefore are not building strong bones for the future. Building a strong skeleton requires weight bearing activities and some high impact activity.

There is a general trend toward obesity due to over processed, calorie dense foods that are readily available to us in fast food establishments. With frequently both parents working, we grab these "quick" meals which are calorie and fat laden and provide little nutrition. Also when your daughter eats these foods, she gets a quick increase in blood sugar followed by a crash resulting in increased hunger and the cycle repeats.

I have heard people say that when you are shopping, shop the periphery of the store. This is where most of the "whole" foods are. Also provide protein with each meal. A breakfast of shredded wheat with 1/2 banana and 1/2 bagel with cream cheese with a glass of o.j. will provide hunger satisifaction and a slower drop in blood sugar then will pop tarts or a donut. Smoothies are another great breakfast choice. Even a slice of whole wheat pizza is a good choice. You can make your own pizzas whith whole wheat bagels. Snacks should also include protein. For example, apple slices with peanut butter. I realize most schools don't allow nuts which is unfortunate, however, you could send celery sticks with cream cheese or even small slices of cooked chicken breast with grapes. Soups are a great lunch and at dinner provide lean meats with vegetables and a small portion of starch. (potato or rice) Popcorn is a good snack option. Just be careful of the microwaved versions which have a lot of salt and fats. I pop corn in a pan on the stove with just a little cannola oil. I add a very little butter and salt and toss. It is delicious, filling, provides needed fiber and you can snack for a long time without consuming too many calories. Also be very aware of the calories your daughter drinks. Milk should be low fat and limit juices. Particularly the ones with added sugar. (the "cocktails") Obviously soda should be a very rare treat. You would be shocked how many calories some people drink. Just make sure your daughter well hydrated with water or low calore/high nutrition drinks if she is very active or it is hot. (Gatorade is loaded with calories)

Another problem may be that your daughter is bored. Today, so many people are concerned with safety (child abduction, accidents etc.) that children are not allowed out to play in the neighborhood as they used to. This is unfortunate because many social skills were also acquired this way. Make sure your daughter has enough activities to keep her occupied.

Best wishes with this issue which concerns many of us parents today.




answers from Boston on


You bye the food......healthy snacking is ok. Cut up apples, oranges, cucumbers, carrots.....list goes on. She cannot grab an unhealthy snack if its not in your kitchen. Once in a while such as on a Saturday chips can be had, a small single serving. Good luck!




answers from Boston on

While I can understand your concerns, please do not make your child feel self conscious about her weight. There are enough body image issues with girls today - love her for who she is. Healthy is healthy, whether it is "tiny and can eat a bag of chips" or not. Strive to make her healthy, not tiny.


answers from Norfolk on

There's no dieting for a child that would be healthy. That being said, make sure what's available to snack on is healthy - fruit, apples, oranges, bananas, veggie sticks, yogurt, cottage cheese etc. No candy, no soda, no sugary cereals, no doughnuts, no chips, no cookies, no cake, no pie, no cup cakes or twinkies. These are all sometimes foods, and sometimes means only once in a great while as a special treat. Once a month makes them special. Once a day makes for obesity. I wouldn't do fast food (fries, burgers, pizza etc) more than once every 2 weeks, if that often. Besides a healthy diet, make sure she gets to move around as much as she wants. Run, play out side if the weather is nice, jump rope, hop scotch, tag, etc. You can start her in a gymnastics or taekwondo or dance class. Don't over schedule her, but make sure she has an activity that can work up a sweat a few times a week. If you are doing all that, then all you have to do is watch her grow, and keep in mind everyone's different, and her growth spurts will come in their own good time.



answers from Hartford on

Hi Amy, Just chiming in with my 2cents. My 7 year old son has always been off the charts for both height and weight, I'm talking over the 100th percentile. As he got into kindergarten his pediatrician made a few comments about his weight as well as gave us some suggestions. We did as we were told and limited juice, he prefers water anyway, restricted sweets, implemented more portion control, limited snacks ect. He participates in swimming year long, played baseball all spring and summer, went to an outdoor summer camp where he ran around and swam all day. Next fall weigh in, he was still off the charts. Our new ped says he is just a big boy. Heck, he has gone up 2 shoe sizes since September. He is hungry, he doesn't eat a lot of junk, he is active, he is "solid" and he is very healthy. So I spent that whole year worrying that we were setting him up to be an overweight adult for nothing. Help her to make healthy choices by not having a lot of junk food around as an option. But if she is hungry, let her eat. Although I sometimes think kids can get into the habit of saying they want want a snack when they are bored. I wish I could go back and not have made it an issue at all, because even at 5 or 6 they understand.



answers from Boston on

Try to have her meals consist of more lean protein. Like chicken, lean hamburger, lean steak, fish is she will eat it?? there are also protein shakes and bars that I have tried that taste awesome. I have picky eaters, so I know sometimes it's tough...I also have started doing yoga and stretching with my 5 year old son - and I alternate who picks the exercise (he chooses one the I do) its fun and keeps them active. Hope this helps!



answers from Boston on

I have a 6 yr old who is a bit bigger than she should be as well. I found a book that I've found helpful. Trim Kids by Melinda Sothern, T. Kirstian von Almen, and Heidi Schumacher. Hope you find somthing that works for you and your daughter. It dose help to only have healthy snacks around for my daughter. It helps her to learn to like healthy snacks instead of the bad stuff.

Good Luck



answers from Boston on

Hi Amy,
You've received some good advice about food. Just one more thing: Make sure your girlie is active. Encourage going outside to play instead of staying inside to watch TV or play video console and computer games. And enroll her in a sport a season or perhaps dance or a marshall art, something that she enjoys. I wouldn't say have her in a million activities, but rather one going at any given season. Not only good for weight management but also for social skills and learning to manage agression.

However, eating healthy is the most important thing you can teach your daughter! Good luck.

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