Is My 7 Year Old Overweight?

Updated on October 26, 2014
M.C. asks from Denville, NJ
14 answers

My daughter just turned 7 years old this past week. She had her physical yesterday and shes weighing in at 61lbs and is 47 inches tall. The ped said she is gaining faster than what shes growing taller. I'm very skinny and my husbands side of the family are mostly on the heavier side. She said it could be genetics. I asked her what I should be doing and all she said was to keep her active and to eat healthier. She's in dance, gymnastics, and swimming every week. She didn't go in depth thought. I need more information, I just wanted to know if any other moms here are going through this same situation and what are you doing? My daughter doesn't look overweight her built is just more solid. She does have a bit of a fuller tummy but other than that she looks fine to me. Any advice? Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the quick responses and advice. I found it very helpful. As far as her diet I try to offer healthy foods. She will not eat veggies at all, I still offer them though and have her try them at least. She drinks water and rarely drinks any juice or sodas. For the snacks I was wondering-she loves granola bars (special k, fiber one, cliff, or nature valley) are those okay? She loves fruit so we are okay there. I agree she is shorter than average but she's always been like that. I feel like her tummy was a bit bigger last year..she's in size 7 for shirts, she can fit in a 6x but might be a kind of snug now. Her pants are about a 7. Its mainly the chest/stomach area..its a bit of that squishy fat but not like her stomach is hanging over her pants, that doesn't happen. I'm trying to answer peoples questions so sorry if this is all over the place. Thanks again for the suggestions and advice!

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

I think the best thing is to not to let your daughter hear you converse about her being potentially overweight. That damages so many children.

That said... It sounds like she is active and maybe she's just a different larger build from some kids her age. We never had that issue but I never kept much junk around.

The key is moderation with foods. My daughter (19) and I do not drink sodas of any kind but my hubby will drink 3 cokes a day. I go through at least 6 bottles of water, some iced tea and red wine daily. We don't do desserts, just never had a taste for them.

Make sure you offer a lot of healthy foods but don't eliminate all junk. Think moderation!!

I am built like my maternal grandmother, very petite, skinny size 0-2 and my mom is almost 6ft athletic star basketball player in high school, size 12ish, not fat just big build. Body wise, we don't look related at all!!

Good luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

The nutritionist at the hospital plus just about every trainer I've ever used have ALL said that a measure of muscle weighs more than the same size measure of fat because it's denser.

So if you have a square foot of muscle and a square foot of fat then the muscle will be smaller than the fat. A pound of fat will be larger than a pound of muscle so don't be confused. A pound is a pound of what ever is being weighed.

If your daughter is flabby and jiggly then she's overweight. IF she's bulging out over the top of her pants and you have to take a foot off the bottom of her clothes to fit around her then she's probably overweight.

If she's solid as a rock, toned, and fits into the clothes that most would say are the right size for her age then don't worry about it.

In my opinion, since I work with clothes about 40% of the time during the week and then I also make recital costumes I feel I can say what sizes are "regular" for certain ages.

This is NOT carved in stone or "I'm right and you're wrong". Just my opinion based on working with kids clothes and fitting kids costumes and sewing for years.

At 6 and just turning 7 for a kiddo that's in that normal range of height she could still be wearing a few 6X-7's. I'd say the pants are getting a little short and if the outfits have knit pants they probably aren't something you like for her to wear out in public because they are really starting to show her shape too much.

If she's outgrown her 6X-7's and is in 8's then she's probably right on the mark. Some kids that are taller need those 8's earlier. That doesn't mean she needs to do anything different. I'd say that's what most kids her age are doing. Going in to 8 and thm being comfortable. If the 8-10 girls clothes are too long but fit around then I'd say she's a bit wider but not fat...

Kiddo could be packing food on too, right before they have a growth spurt they eat and eat and eat and eat and they c*** out in a noticeable way. Then one morning they wake up and they're thin again, their clothes fall off and their pants are way too short.

If she's wearing girls size 12 or higher then it might be time to take a good look at her and honestly see what you think. If she's just a stout kid that's okay.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

Statistically, it looks like your daughter is in the overweight category, almost obese (from the cdc website). What do you think, is your daughter overweight? In my opinion, you can't tell if she is healthy by just looking at her. A "fuller tummy" vs. skinny-she's healthy? Kids and adults come in different shapes and sizes. It's time to look at the overall health of your family. What do you serve for meals, what does she eat for snacks? What does she drink? What are her portion sizes? I about fell over one day at a friend's house, when we finished eating and ice cream was served. Her 6 year old ate an entire bowl of ice cream. One serving size of ice cream is 1/2 cup. She had to have eaten ate least 2+ cups and yes, I hear it from her mom too "she's just like her dad and loves food (thicker middle/stockier)". Anyhow, It appears your daughter is active. Maybe your doctor is just looking at numbers, however, this day in age, it's not something to brush under the rug.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Go online and look up Body Mass Index (BMI) calculators for kids. Plug in your daughters numbers and you will know how she compares to other kids for her age and height.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My girls are also solidly built and were c***by toddlers. Comes from my husband's side too or at least not mine. I've always really monitored their weight for height. They've always been average despite looking a bit heavy to me compared to some kids. Using the online calculator I've always used for my kids, your daughter is definitely overweight. Sorry. She could have a growth spurt coming up but her weight for height is high enough I would be concerned and watch all empty calories and make sure she doesn't eat all carbs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I agree with what Sarah And Robert E had to say. In particular the part about soda and sugary drinks. In my opinion, kids don't need to be drinking sodas as anything more than an occasional treat (when she's a guest at a party when it is all that is offered perhaps..). Milk is ok (barring sensitivities) even though it also has sugar, but it contains proteins and fats that are filling, so kids are not as likely to overindulge like they would with soda. And it doesn't contain the phosphorous that is bad for their teeth like carbonated drinks do.

Same goes for a lot of juice. Kids don't need that. They can get their Vitamin C from eating actual fruit.

You didn't mention if this is typical for your daughter's growth patterns (to have a bit of a tummy from time to time). I know when my daughter was younger, there was a definitive period of time every year (usually at the beginning of summer) when she would get rounder and then grow up and thin out. Every year. Same thing.
Does your daughter do that?

Kids have a tendency to go rounder as they go into puberty as well (not just girls, boys do it, too... for about 2 years from what I have observed), but your daughter should not be hitting that pre-pubescent stage just yet. Not at 7. Most girls (not all, but most) hit that closer to age 10/11.

Observe her diet and make small adjustments if needed. Not necessarily calories, or quantity, but quality. Grilled instead of fried. Chicken nuggets made at home from chicken breasts cut up and baked in your oven vs. McDonald's drive-thru. Fruits and veggies (whole pieces, not juice) instead of mac and cheese and french fries.
And from what I just looked at on a growth chart, for her age, she is in approximately the 25th percentile for height, and the 90th percentile for weight. Those numbers are pretty far out of proportion. She's shorter than 75% of kids her age, and heavier than 90% of kids her age. So yeah... that's heavy. And according to a BMI chart, almost obese (high end of "overweight").

--ETA 2:
Regarding the granola type bars. Read the labels. Most of those are not as nutritious and healthy as they advertise. Compare the amount of sugars and carbohydrates (carbohydrates convert to sugar in the body) and fats to the amount of protein in them. Most of those bars are almost ALL carbohydrates. Which is fine if she is a distance runner prepping for a half-marathon. Not so much if she is just an average kiddo.

They aren't harmful, but she'd be better off eating a handful of nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds) which contain protein and good satiating fats, minus all the carbs (read "sugar" whenever you see carbs on anything that isn't a vegetable). Or eating a piece of whole fruit. Apples, grapes, berries. Cliff bars have a HUGE amount of calories. Read the labels and really consider how many calories are in those things compared to the amount of calories a healthy diet for a 7 year old should contain.
I just pulled a Clif bar out of my pantry to see (my 16 year old wrestles and takes weight training (daily)) and he will sometimes eat these... 240 calories. 44 grams of carbs. This is not a "snack" for a 7 year old. It might be half of a lunch.... but not a snack.
Try a piece of string cheese, a handful of almonds, and a big glass of water or some popcorn (they sell microwave popcorn in small single size portions that are 100 calories each). The popcorn has fiber, takes a while to eat and has lots of "crunch value" (meaning your mouth works a lot to eat it so it is satisfying from the mental side of things).
If she doesn't like veggies at all, what does she eat with her meals? A meat and _______? Does she fill up on bread or pasta or rice instead? Carbs and mostly empty calories. And usually are topped with fattening choices like butter, sour cream or sauces and gravies.

Do not make a big deal about this in front of your child. Don't. Just start gradually changing what is available and what is offered to her. Be a good example of how and what to eat, also.

Does she take her lunch to school? What's in it? Or does she eat the school lunch? Have you looked at a typical school lunch lately? She's probably better served eating a PB&J sandwich on whole wheat bread, an apple, and a handful of popcorn or a cheese stick. Bottle of water to drink.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

i can't answer that without being able to see the person. i can tell you though, my 10 year olds weigh less that your daughter. our pediatrician says they're skinny and need more calories. i can't possibly think how to add more calories to their diet. my kids don't eat fast food, eat very little sweets. they also do tennis. but they don't gain much weight.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

Some charts can be misleading if you see the doctor at the 'wrong' time of the year. For example if you waited 2 months and her weight was the same and she is compared against 7y2m girls, so may be in the healthy range.

I agree with others, to use your judgment. The only issue is, sometimes we are so used to seeing our kids we do not think they are over weight.

My kids are thin to average and we do not drink calories. Lots of water. They do make up with treats, yet the will have a couple of bites and run off to play while some other kids will stick around a party table eating several servings.

edit: I know that sounds like a lot of activities, but kids in the olden days (1980's when i was growing up) used to run and ride bikes for hours each day. Now (my kids included) get driven to 45 minute activities a few times a week. I think fun play that is not too structured is a great idea.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I doubt it. Muscle weights more than fat and with all those activities she most likely has more muscle. She could be like my son, he always fills out before a growth spurt and then can grow several inches at a time, gaining no more weight, and will be back in proportion again.
So long as she's active and not eating and drinking a lot of junk, don't worry about. She's fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Granola bars are laden with honey and or other sweetners, even IF just fruit juice or cane.. it's all sweet and makes the insulin go up which in turn, makes belly fat... even just too much plain fruit in the diet can be too much..
so IF she must have fruit... consider this.. a banana has a higher gylcemic rate than an apple.. so.. the apple would be better..... but if she must have the banana... then a less ripe one is better than one that is beginning to get brown spots.. again, the idea being that as fruit ripens..... so does the sugar content.. any of those store bought processed (even if just minimally) usually have a lot of sugar... whether honey, dextrose, sucrose, cane, fruit juice.. it's all sugar one way or another... your best bet.. you could try making your own granola bars. this way you control the sugar content ... when my son was little, he didn't eat a lot.. BUT he did like granola bars and fruit... although he also ate veggies.. but... for him.. since he was prone to belly fat... we had to cut down on the overly sweet items, even if just natural..... also if you aren't already, just start reading food labels more often.. if sugar is listed within the first 3 or 4 items.. then it's probably too sweet... also note... sugar is hiding in tomato sauces, catsup... many processed foods .. the list goes on..
you could substitute things like granola for actual oatmeal... made with fresh apples and cinnamon... a splash and ONLY a splash of unfiltered apple juice ... throw in some finely chopped nuts.. that would sustain her better than a granola bar... whenever I have had success with food. it's been because I did more planning.. takes more work.. but that's ok..



answers from Denver on

Could you give us kind of a summary about what your daughter eats on a typical day and evening?


answers from Lakeland on

First, muscle weighs the same as fat, so one pound of muscle is the same as one pound of fat so don't go by that.

All people are different sizes and genetics play a part in that. I get frustrated by these weight charts for kids. I think they want children to be sickly skinny. If your child is eating healthy balanced meals and doing the extra activities then she is fine.

I also wouldn't say too much in front of her about her weight.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter is thick, she's also very athletic (soccer, swimming, volleyball, cross country). When she's in season I let her have carb based snacks. If she's not in season I limit the carbs because she tends to gain weight quickly and hold on to it, however granola bars are usually a no go here unless they're home made. One thing my daughter loves is chocolate muffins. Find a recipe and omit all fat (oil, milk) from it, in place shred one whole zucchini, then make as directed (including eggs). DD loves these, she knows there is zucchini in them, but since she can't taste it she doesn't care. Obviously we don't do these all the time because of the sugar, but it's a good way to pump up the veggies every now and then.



answers from Wichita Falls on

If she eats healthy and is as active as you say, don't worry, it's likely she is going to have a growth spurt soon. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat.

But if you are worried about her diet, cut back on sugar drinks, not only soda but also energy and sports drinks and juice, have her drink water instead and keep those for special occasions. Likewise, fast food and fried foods should only be consumed rarely. Choose 100% whole wheat over white bread, and cut back overall on simple carbs (bread, pasta, white rice, etc) in favor of complex carbs. Snack on fruits veggies and protein (peanut butter, nuts, hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt).

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