Child with a Weight Issue

Updated on September 07, 2006
R.S. asks from Plymouth, WI
7 answers

I am wondering emotionally how to deal with this...
I have a 3 1/2 year who weighs 48 pounds and is 42 inches tall. She is off the charts in both her height and weight. I have noticed that we eat a lot of junk food or prepared food. I have since changed that. What I am looking for from other moms is ideas... I am very worried about her self-esteem. I struggled with weight most of my life and do not want her to do the same. She is VERY active so exercise is not a problem, like I said we did do some adjustments in her diet. Her doctor is not overly concerned about it, but I am having a VERY hard time finding pants for her. Help!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of your responses.
Just to follow-up on one point, my daughter does NOT know that I hold this concern for her. All she is EVER told is how beautiful, lovable, and cute she is. We have a saying in our house, I wouldn't trade you for... (we fill in whatever our favorite thing is).
My husband is a physcial education teacher so staying active is not a problem in our house, as we all do daddy's exercises and games daily. I hold a masters degree in school and community counseling so I know how important self-esteem is and quickly it is smashed.
But it was nice to hear that this issue is not just in our house. I just needed other moms to "vent" to because I don't want my daughter to be me when she grows up... struggling with weight and feeling large her whole life. If by genetics she is on the larger side, I want her to have an outstanding personality to go with it.
Well, I have said enough, thanks again everyone for taking the time to respond and give ideas. It meant a lot!! :) Kudos to you all.

More Answers



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi R.,
I read this and I immediately could relate. I have a 9yo beautiful daughter. She also started getting heavier at around age 3 and even though she is 3 years younger than her big sister, she gives her big sister her hand me down clothes. Like I said, she is 9 but is wearing size 14/16 when she should only be in a 10/12 girls size. We do what can at home to always speak positively about her weight. We never say diet to her or that she's fat. Rather, we say we all as a family need to eat healthy. We don't single her out as the only one who needs to eat better so she doesn't feel like something is wrong with her. The downside is that other kids are not as nice. She is always being told by kids that she's fat and gets teased quite a bit which is very hard on her. That's why it's so vital to speak positive things to her. Also, her doctor is not real concerned either about her weight because she is taller as well. Just keep her up and you'll do fine.




answers from Minneapolis on

I wouldn't worry too much about it right now as long as you are aware of the problem and are changing your habits. Hopefully she'll slim right out before school starts or at least not get heavier.
I also have large children, however their weight isn't quite as much as your daughter's. My oldest was 41" and 41 lbs at her 3 year check up and then was 42" and 40 lbs at her 4 year checkup. My other daughter is 2 1/2 and is 36" and 36 lbs. but she is a special needs child and uses a wheelchair so she isn't quite as active.
Anyways, I read some of the other responses before writing this and I don't really agree with things like Crystal Light and such. I give my kids 4 oz. of Juicy Juice mixed with 4 oz of water in the morning. They have milk with cereal, lunch and supper and when the juice is gone it's only water after that. Kids don't need things like kool aid when they are this young. My kids usually have 1 bowl of cereal for breakfast of their choice and the one cup of juice/water mix. Then something like 3 chicken nuggets, green beans and mandarine oranges for lunch with milk. If they finish their lunch they can have some fruit snacks. Then about 3 pm they can have a handful of animal crackers. I rarely give them candy and never gum.
Be sure to push the water - it's so good for her.
Best of luck,



answers from Duluth on

R., I agree with the other moms who have responded to you. You've already done some great things with looking at nutrition and exercise. Now the biggest thing to look at is how you phrase things ("Don't eat those french fries because they'll make you fat" versus "Don't eat those french fries because they aren't very healthy, try the green beans instead. The way to be good to your body is give it good fuel", etc.). Also, whatever concerns you have about your daughter's self esteem... I again agree with the other moms. How you react to your daughter is what she is going to take her cues from. If you react with disgust, sadness, etc to her weight/height or problems with finding clothing, she will perhaps sense something is wrong with her. If you instead just deal with it head on, say, "Not everyone is created the same, we are all individuals. This pair of pants just doesn't fit you, so Mommy is going to hem it up so they will be perfect just for you", etc, she perhaps will see herself as a unique individual and not as "too big". I was bigger myself as a child, and let me tell you, I didn't appreciate my dad saying how "fat" I was, nor did I appreciate having to buy the "husky" clothing from the catalogues! You are on the right track, just believe in yourself and in your child. Don't get too wrapped up in what the charts say. You are doing the best you can as a mom, and it will all work out in the end. Good luck!



answers from La Crosse on

Hi R.,

I myself have also struggled with my weight since childhood and have recently had Gastric Bypass Surgery. My daughter, unfortunatly, inherited my genes and is a little chunky. One thing I did to help curve her weight gain was to cut out all juice. We use Crystal Light and she loves's just like Koolaid all the time and that is a cool thing for young children. I call it juice when she wants juice and I call is Koolaid when she wants that. It has REALLY helped with the weight gain. She finally has time to grow up faster than she grows out. Just a thought. I wouldn't bring up the word DIET, EVER, just "healthy meals". With the increasing rate of childhood Diabetes and other diseases, you can't igore this completely or just stick on the back burner forever. It is good to take a few small steps to attempt healthier intake for our kids. After all, if we don't who will? You are off to a good start...keep up the efforts, you children deserve the best we as parents can offer them.




answers from Rochester on

My sister was exactly the same when she was young. At her age, I doubt your daughter be worried about her size, unless she's hearing negative things from family/friends, which WILL affect her self-esteem. Our personal dieting really affects our kids, even if we don't say it right to them. (Like if they over hear us talking about what we don't like about our bodies, or the negatives about our eating/appearance).

It sounds like you're right on track: getting healthier meals/snacks into the house, keeping her active (which can be as simple as dancing to a favorite song every day) and teaching her about healthy habits. My son used to be a junk-food only kid; no veggies, fruits or whole grains. He only wanted peanut butter and hot pockets. We did away with "convenience" foods, and started talking about how healthier food would help him grow and get stronger (he really went for that, since we used "The Incredibles" as his inspiration).

If your doctor isn't worried, I wouldn't be either. Many of us struggle with weight, and we all worry that our kids will, too. She's young, and will probably just outgrow it. My sister was "pudgy" until about age 7, then one summer shot up like a weed. (literally, she grew nearly 2 1/2 inches between school years)

As far as finding clothes that fit, it's a pain in the butt, but my mom used to tailor all our clothes. We'd buy them big and she'd hem the pants legs for us. (Even if you can't sew well, only takes about ten minutes and is well hidden so no one knows if you goof up) :) This worked great for my sister, since once she out grew her weight, mom just lengthened the pants again and got another year's use.

Just stay positive, and don't let it bother you. She'll take her cues from you. Let us know how it goes!



answers from Minneapolis on

Your daughter is just about the EXACT same size of my 5yr.old. Everyone tells me that my 5yr.old is so tiny. She is in the 50%.So she's average. My 5yr.old is 42inches 45lbs. My daughter is proportioned just fine I'm guessing since your daughter is the same height/weight as my child she is fine she is just a tall 3yr.old. Today was the first day of kindergarten and my daughter was smaller than some of the kids but she's also the youngest in her class and she fit in with the rest of the kids as far as height. I wouldn't worry about it aslong as her weight doesn't go up.

My daughter was a preemie baby 4 lbs. By her first birthday she was chunky people talked behind my back. She was in a size 2t. She gradually became a better walker, more active, and gradually thinned out within the last few years. This is the first time she isn't "overweight" or she's proportionate according to doctors. What has helped us is ALOT of outside play, we go to the ymca and she does tumbling, swimming, teeball, soccer through our local rec. dept. etc. I let her choose what and how much she wants to eat because she knows when she's full. I get to choose what I bring into the house. I've had this philosphy since birth and she has never been told to clean her plate or anything like that. She is not a picky eater and has full control of what amounts she eats. Of course I don't let her eat before dinner or if she doens't eat enough of her dinner I'm not gonna give her a treat she will finish her dinner at bedtime snack if one at all.



answers from Minneapolis on

The one piece of advice I would give you is to not let your daughter see/hear your concerns about her/your weight. It doesn't sound like she's obese & the fact that you are aware of the things in your diet that need changing & you are changing that should help with her/your weight. Our kids form opinions of themselves based a lot upon what they see/hear us say about them & ourselves. Just keep pushing the healthy foods & don't have the bad ones around-they are too tempting-if it's not in the house you can't eat it! It takes a bit to get used to but just make sure you are avoiding processed foods/fast foods-they are full of bad things!

Set the example for your daughter by being active & eating healthy. She will follow!

Good Luck!

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