Is My 4 Year Old over Weight?

Updated on October 30, 2015
M.G. asks from Milwaukee, WI
21 answers

She just had her check up and was 43 inches and 51 pounds. the doctor said she needs to eat healthier and be more active. is she way over the weight of other kids her age?

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So What Happened?

We eat fairly healthy and she isn't allowed junk food, or fast food when she is at our house, not sure what happens at her other parents' house. Us as a family are pretty active, she has a hard time getting involved and wanting to participate. can't really force her to want to run around and stuff

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answers from St. Louis on

There are plenty of charts online for female children. This will provide you the percentile, rather than an expected weight.

You cannot judge by how her clothes fit, as mentioned below. My daughter has always run in the 97th percentile for both height and weight. That just means she is above average, but in both areas. She is taller and heavier than nearly everyone her age.

Pay attention to the doctors comments so she doesn't end up on a grueling diet.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It's not weight that's most important, it's BMI, which takes height into account. I plugged her height and weight into the CDC's child BMI calculator, and her BMI is above the 99th percentile. That means her BMI is higher than 99% of kids her age. So, yes, she is over the weight of most other kids her age and height.

ETA: My 5 year old boy is 45 inches and 40 lbs.

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answers from Washington DC on

well, if her doctor said so, do you really expect a bunch of strangers on the internet who don't know your daughter to give you better advice?

it sounds more like you want reassurance that it's okay for her to be overweight than any good ways to actually make her healthier.

go from eating 'fairly healthy' to 'very healthy.' go from being 'pretty active' to 'on the go.' you can't 'force her to want to run around and stuff' but you can find activities that she DOES like, and things that she does want to do, and get the family involved with them.

this is your child. don't look for excuses to be helpless and let her health suffer.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

We got the "fat letter" in the mail from Kaiser last year for our then 8-year-old daughter. We didn't let her know, because she has a brother with an eating disorder and we didn't need HER worried about food, too. In the past year, she's come down into the normal range. What worked? Family exercise, as in we all go swimming or for a bike ride together. She goes with me when I walk the dog. She started team sports, playing softball in the spring and soccer in the fall. She goes out on the trampoline with her friends. You're in a cold climate, so your daughter could get more active just playing in the snow when it comes and helping make a snowman. All of that is exercise, but in a not-so-obvious way.

If the doctor is bringing it up, then yes, she's overweight.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

It will come up as "overweight" if you plug it into the BMI calculators.
Both of my boys have always been off the charts, they are big boys. My 4 year old had his checkup beginning of the year and was 45 inches tall and 56 lb weight. His now 12 year old brother was 42 inches and 45 lbs at the same age of 4. We got the "fat letters" too when my oldest was in elementary. My 12 year old is still tall for his age and on top end of weight for his age, but I see him "thinning out" as he goes through puberty. He has not gained any weight since springtime and has grown about 2 inches. My doctor mentions to get them more activity and not to lose weight, but to try and maintain. That is what we focus on. They are not the best of eaters(very picky), but love fruit so we go with it. They are not soda drinkers at all and rarely want juice. We just try to get outside whenever we can.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes you can get her to participate. She's 4 and if you make it fun then she'll play. Figure out what she likes to do. My chubby kid loved to walk and jump on the trampoline so we'd take walks all the time. Youngest granddaughter is tall and shows a little overweight. She loves balls so we're always in the yard kicking balls or throwing them.

Make it about having fun and not getting in shape so 'you won't be fat'. Set up run games where she calls out physical things to do and you all do them together. I could be hopping on 1 foot 10 times. Walking backward 3 steps. Twirling your arms for a minute. Kind of like Simon says but with physical activity.

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answers from Atlanta on

Step 1 - Look at her. How does she appear? Her BMI is in the 98th percentile, which puts her in the obese category. However, BMI is not always accurate. It does not account for large bones or extra muscle. At my son's 8 year old check up, his BMI was approaching the upper limit of normal and the doctor said it needed to be watched. I had him lift up his shirt and show his pecs and 8 pack abs that any teenager would be jealous of and asked if she still thought it was a problem. He just has really heavy bones and is extremely muscular (swims 4 hours a week and does competitive gymnastics another 10 hours a week), so his weight reflected that.

Now, you daughter - is she active? How much muscle does she have? Does her genetics give her larger bone stature? If yes, then the BMI chart just isn't right for her. If she's not super active/muscular, then it is definitely something you need to be concerned about.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Every child is so's hard to say. My cousin was always quite pudgy as a kid and in high school he suddenly shot up to well over 6 feet. I forget his exact height...but VERY tall. I did not even recognize him when I saw him because he looked so different. The doctor is just trying to help keep your child healthy in case she is drinking soda/juice too often or eating too many calories. I guess since you can't control what she eats at her other house you can just model good eating habits when she is with you. It sounds like you are pretty healthy though. On the weekends we like to go to the local rec center and take the kids swimming. Or we do a family bike ride. We do this a lot...sometimes after dinner in the evenings. When my daughter was 4 and could not ride herself we got a "trail-a-bike" to hook on to my husband's bike so she could pedal. My daughter (just turned 6) loves to roller blade. Loves to dance. Loves her soccer which she does once a week. If your daughter hates team activities can you get out as a family in the evening...go throw a ball at the park or practice soccer kicks. Or sign her up for swim lessons. Or go for a long ride on her trike/bike with training wheels. The other things we like to do on weekends is take the kids on a hike. It's a nice family activity. Invite another family to join you so she has a girl our experience it really helps the kids to hike a lot farther when they have a friend along! The other thing you should do is make sure she is getting less time on screens and sitting. I think we all struggle with this as parents.

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answers from Williamsport on

That is quite a bit over average. BUT. All kids are not equal. Do you guys have really big bones? Are you all naturally not super skinny? My husband and I are tall AND big boned. I have very broad shoulders, etc. I'm in shape, but people are always shocked at my weight because it's pretty high for a thin person. But I have muscle, etc. Our kids are at the tall end of charts and have "sturdy" builds. They're not delicate, waify little whisps like many children are because we're big people. But still, they are always within the average for weight and have never been over.

Does your daughter have fat on her? A big belly? Does she seem chunky? Or does she seem perfectly fit? That's the real gage since body types can vary so much.

She's four so however active she is and whatever she eats are 100% your choice. Sounds like they may be feeding her too much at other parents house if she does indeed have some extra weight she should lose. Find out what they eat and discuss this issue with them if things are civil enough.Take her out to play a lot and for walks. It is important not to set her up for a lifetime of making it hard to keep her weight down.

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answers from Portland on

Amanda, my suggestion is this: instead of focusing on *if* your child is overweight, take inventory. Is your family up and moving around, being active, or more prone to sedentary activities? You know what you are serving for meals. Are there too many empty carbs in the cupboards? Is she getting a good variety of lean proteins, veggies, fresh foods? Sometimes, we get a bit too caught up in the words when we could be putting our efforts into the actions. Exercise and thoughtful eating habits are a great place to start, no matter if your daughter is or isn't *overweight*. If our pediatrician told us that we needed to change things for Kiddo, we would.

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answers from Austin on

Apparently there is another parent involved, perhaps your ex? And perhaps your ex's new spouse or family? And apparently your daughter's weight is a concern that is significant enough for her doctor to bring it up. Perhaps the doctor is simply telling you that if her weight gain continues on this track she'll have problems soon, or perhaps the doctor is telling you that there are already problems.

But if you don't know what your daughter is eating at her other parent's house, or if she's drinking soda with meals or during the day, or if her diet there is take-out, fast food, convenience meals and processed foods, I hope you can find out. I hope you have a civil enough relationship with the other parent to inquire kindly, and to pass along the doctor's concerns. Does the other parent's family seem healthy, at a good weight, and active?

Otherwise, can you speak to the doctor, and arrange for the other parent to take the child in for a checkup, and have the doctor address the weight concern directly with the other parent?

If your daughter is eating fresh fruits and vegetables and broiled chicken at your house before going out for a walk, but eating boxed "helper type" meals and sugary cereals, and guzzling sodas while watching tv, there will be a lot of problems. That will create conflict within your daughter, and negate all your good efforts. You may be able to help your daughter understand that she should drink water, not soda, but 4 might be too young yet. I hope you can work this out with the other family.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

She's how old? What size clothes does she wear? Are they way too long when you buy jeans/pants for her?

If she is 4 and wearing size 10-12/large clothes then yes, she's way too big around. If she's 4 and wearing girls small or mediums then she's pretty much okay.

If she's flabby and looks fat then chances are she needs to do something to tone her body more. If she solid as a rock and not a jiggle anywhere on her body then she's probably okay.

There are so many variables to this that you didn't put in the question that I can't say for sure.

I have a friend whose daughter is normal height. She wears adult large in leos, tights, pants, jackets, clothes run small and in regular clothes she's a medium to a large. She is ACTIVE!!! She dances, rides BMX and wins almost every race, she plays basketball, and more. She does hours and hours of stuff each week.

This girl looks overweight. She has a huge middle section and her thighs are nearly as big around as my granddaughters. She has a fat chubby face too. But she doesn't have single jiggle anywhere on her body. She is a ROCK! I have to make costumes for this girl because they often can't buy her the same one as the other girls her age because this girl is so huge and the other girls are from girls size 8 up to girls size 12-14. Then there is this girl.

This girl's mom frets over her diet and tells her she needs to think about what she eats and is always trying to make a difference. She is a good mom.

Then one day this mom showed me kid pictures of her and then her other kids. They ALL looked like this girl growing up! I asked her what she'd done back then and if she'd felt "fat". She said no. She was happy and played softball and basketball and soccer year round. Then as a teen she started changing and growing taller and thinning down.

She is by no means a size 2 or 4 but she's not a 18 either. She is slightly, slightly, more round than a normal looking person. I reminded her that she had looked similar, her other kids had looked similar, and this girl would likely follow the same line of growth. To lighten up a bit and let her enjoy life as a kid.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Google "kids bmi calculators". When you plug in your daughter's weight and height info you will see that she is substantially overweight. I think you should discuss this with her other parent and come up with a strategy to help get her weight under control.

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answers from Lakeland on

I wouldn't go by BMI, I would go by what your child consumes. Do you and your family eat healthy and exercise?

There are some people that eat healthy and exercise and are still considered heavy. There are too many other things to consider and a lot of the time it is assumed that a heavy child must be eating junk food all day and sitting around doing nothing.

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answers from Reading on

My kid is kinda on the small size, but he's 11 and weighs about 57, height about 54".

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answers from Iowa City on

To answer your actual question: The average weight for a 4 year old girl is 32 to 38.5 pounds. So your daughter weighs quite a bit more than average. Is this normal for her? My children's doctor has always told us that it is fine for a child to be smaller/larger than average as long as they are following the normal pattern of their personal growth chart. For example, my older daughter has always been in the 20% for height and 40% for weight (smaller than average) and that is fine as long as she continues to stay in that range or gets to the average range.

When I look at my girls' classmates I can see that my girls are on the smaller side but not extremely small compared to their friends.

For what it is worth my 5 year old weighs 42 pounds.

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answers from Chicago on

put her numbers into an online growth chart - this is what it told me for her stats, assuming she just turned 4 - ''Your Child's BMI

Based on your child's age and gender, her BMI of 19.4 places her in the 98th percentile. This means that in a room of a 100 kids the same age and gender of your child, on average she has more body fat than at least 98 of them. A BMI that is in the 95th percentile or higher is in the obese range.

Many parents think that it's OK -- or even cute -- for young kids to be overweight. Your child may look like you did as a kid, or like their cousins or friends.

In fact, a recent survey of children in the U.S. showed that more than 10% of kids aged 2 to 5 and more than 19% of kids aged 6 to 11 are obese. But being overweight puts your child -- even as young as she is -- at risk for many health problems.''

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answers from Dallas on

For reference, my almost 7 year old daughter is 44" and 40 pounds. She's obviously on the shorter size for her age, and very slim, but I'd imagine she'd be on the heavy side with another 11 pounds on her. Prob just work on increasing her activity and monitoring what she eats and the portion size.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter is 7 and at her last checkup she was about 74 pounds and 52 inches tall (92nd percentile for BMI). The doc told me she is higher on the BMI and she needs to eat healthier and be more active. She also added that I should NOT put her on a diet. Just make sure she eats more veggies and no more than 1 glass of juice, no soda each day. And told her to make sure she eats less junk food and more good stuff.



answers from Jacksonville on

If her height and weight are in the same percentile range (such as 90% for height 92% for weight), then no not really. If there is a huge difference like 50% for height 97% for weight, then yes.



answers from New York on

Usually at 4 their height and weight are about equal. Don't make a big issue out of it. As long as she eats well, let her be. Hopefully she is not drinking juices or any high calorie drink. Encourage activities

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