Overweight Toddler

Updated on July 15, 2008
M.C. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
30 answers

Hi Moms,

I don't know how seriously I should take this. I took my 3 year old to the doctor yesterday for a well visit and was told that he is overweight. He is 37 inches in height and his weight is almost 39 pounds. The last time we went which was about 6 mos. ago, everything was perfect with weight/height. Now however, the doctor advises that we monitor his diet and increase his physical activity level to prevent obesity. The doctor says his weight is increasing more than his height. My friend tells me that it is probably baby fat and he'll outgrow it during his next growth spurt, so don't read much into it. I don't know how seriously I should monitor this. We are physically active in that we go for walks daily and he plays with his friends and has an hour of soccer once a week. I'm looking for any suggestions you may have. Thank you so much!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Since my post about 2 weeks ago, my little guy has grown from 37 inches to 38.5 inches and now his weight has dropped 4 lbs. to 35 lbs.--all a healthy weight for him. I made some changes in his diet--and boy, did that help! Thanks to all of you for your advice. I've learned that I need to be more alert to what I've been feeding him. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.W.

answers from Detroit on

Until about 3 my son was in the 50-75% for height and 95 for weight. At 3 he was in 95th for both height and weight. He is almost 4 1/2 and is 43inches (or more now) and about 42 lbs. He is perfectly proportioned and healthy. He is VERY active and we eat healthy. My ped always told me as long as the height and weight were no more than 5 % off, the child was not obese/overweight.

I would try not to stress too much... but I would take action. Limit processed foods (mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc) and give him as much fruit and veggies as he wants. My son LOVEs fruit. And keep him outside and playing as much as you can. I bet he grows into the weight in then next 6 mos.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.K.

answers from Detroit on

When my daughter was 2 years old, she weighed 52 lbs. I didn't want to put her on a strict diet, so following the doctor's tips, I controlled what she ate as well as her portions. I also added activities, playdates, and visits to the playground (the mall playground in the winter).

The main goal at the time was to minimize if not stop her weigh gain.

Between meals (especially while making dinner), have fruit (grapes, orange wedges, apricots, apple slices) and vegetables (baby carrots, or cut carrots/celery, cucumber, peppers) cut up and easy to reach.

Minimize the pop, chips, cakes, and sweets to special occasions.

Good luck.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.

answers from Detroit on

My sister had the same issue with her daughter....the doctor told her to watch her food and increase her physical activity. However, the doctor was very specific about how she should monitor food intake - limit milk to 16 oz. per day, - no more than that is necessary, and limit juice to only 8 oz a day. Also - the doctor recommended that she increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables, while decreasing proteins & processed foods(which my niece ATE tons of!). Needless to say - cut out the junk foods and only offer healthy snacks. Now, my niece is 5 and is no longer overweight - but she is still Big for her size.

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.M.

answers from Detroit on

I think because of the prevelancy of obesity nowadays doctors may be concerned a little faster than usual but with that said you didnt mention what he eats. I would say its very important to not give a child (or an adult for that matter) corn syrup - refined white sugar - enriched flour (turns to sugar has no nutrients) and of course there are trans fats in hydrogenated oils. Those few ingredients it is believed lead to obesity among other things (like hypertension - diabetes etc)

Now for the sad part - those are in almost everything out there :( Its surprising :( So check your ingredients - limit sugar - keep up your healthy lifestyle and see if your little guy isnt just fit and trim!!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.L.

answers from Detroit on

I don't know if this will make you feel better my oldest son at a year old weighed 35lbs at 9 months they told me he was to big too walk a week later he was walking. He stayed at 35 lbs until he was 3 1/2 he just kept getting taller then the doctors were concerned because he wasn't gaining. by age 6 he was too thin according to the doctors. He has a habit of getting chuncky looking be for he grows he is almost 6 foot now and lean. no he doesnt play sports he enjoys reading, computers and video games. I felt he needed to do more and the more I pushed the less he wanted to do.
Like everyone else said you know your child if you think he is growing OK then he is. Not everyone fits there cookie cutter molds they are just guidelines and some doctors forget that. Record what he does and eats in a day do this for a week or two than you can prove to the doctor you monitored what he does. Make you decission from there.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.C.

answers from Detroit on

Like some of the other responses, take a fresh look at his diet. Have you both been eating out more than the usual overindulging in french fries, nuggets, and not as many vege's.

A good sign for me is my kids bowel movements, if I see they are not having them on a regular basis or constipation is an issue it's time to re-evaluate our wole family's diet.

I wouldn't worry too much most kids do begin to stretch up taller and lose this extra weight. Unless he falls into regular unhealthy eating habits.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.B.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I think you've gotten some great advice already. Look at the food that are highly processed carbs. Should be eating of whole grains, fruits/veggies, whole milk (or soy milk), yogurt.

The most important (I think) avoid foods with high fructose corn sryup. This is not a natural sugar, nor does the body know how to process this. The body store this as fat! You notice it is in A LOT OF FOODS! Organic and natural foods for your son may help you with this.

If you'd like any additional ideas/tips, please feel free to email me.

K.
[email protected]____.com
Wellness Coach

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.P.

answers from Detroit on

MC,

What does your instinct and what you know about your child tell you? You know your child better than anyone!

Some things to think about, ok? Does your child drink water? How much juice does he drink? Does he eat fruits and vegetables? At his age a handful (his handful) is a serving.

Juices have a lot of sugar. I would recommend he drinks one glass of juice a day and the rest water. He really only needs one glass of milk per day as well. Getting other sources of pure calcium would be best.

Hope this helps.

Warm regards,

M.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.H.

answers from Detroit on

It is possible this is 'baby fat' that could be outgrown, however many of our foods are over processed. I try very hard to give my son fruits and veggies in their natural form. Meaning I will steam the veggies after they are prepared and the he just loves the fruit.

Our bodies are actually meant to eat more of this, less of the meats. I also give my son the organic / separated peanut butter (you have to stir it yourself and refrigerate it). This has less sugar and tastes great! He loves it, & so do the rest of us! Many of the snacks that seem healthy for us are not. I am not sure what foods you have, but you can be very active and be counteracting the good physical exercise with foods filled with the bad stuff. (it's easy to do as so much food - especially geared towards children- are filled with fats, carbs and sugar.)

Keep and eye on the food intake and keep up the fitness. All should be good. ;)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.L.

answers from Detroit on

If you are feeding him healthly foods than I woudl not worry about it. If his diet consists of high fat foods I would gradually make some changes for everyones health. it sounds like he hjas a good amount of activity in his life.

Don't stress

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.N.

answers from Detroit on

Children do gain weight and then have growth spurts so maybe that's all that is. Do make sure he's eating properly, furit, vegetables....not sweets and fats and alot of carbs....as long as you're doing this and he's getting alot of activity I would just take it a day at a time. If you're doing all the "proper" things for him and he contines to gain too much weight, start keeping a log of everything he is eating and the times and activities he is doing everyday. The next time you go to the doctor's, the doctor can give you better advice.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.H.

answers from Tampa on

I would keep a food journal (include physical activity) to take to the doctor for the next visit. If your son has outgrown this it won't matter much except to get some pointers from the doctor on food choices. If he hasn't outgrown it, then the doctor will have better insight as to why your son is too big. Be completly honest and write down every snack and drink. If you're doing everything right and the doctor sees how you're trying, he'll get off your back.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.C.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I definitely would not discount your doctor's advice. Why wait until your child is actually obese to start making changes? Do what is best for him and act now.

How much time does your child spend in front of the television? I think the best way to increase activity level is to turn the TV off. Once it is off, suddenly you will find your toddler more active, running all over, climbing and acting in a manner healthier for a child. Our son does not watch TV and other parents are always amazed by how imaginative and "busy" he is.

Part 2 would be making sure your child is eating the right foods. There is a lot of sugar hidden in common foods. Simple steps such as eliminating juice in favor of water, skipping chocolate in the milk, offering more veggies, and serving fruit as dessert can really make a difference.

Best of luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.H.

answers from Detroit on

I would listen to what your doctor says, but not stress about it. Just take a good look at what your son is eating/drinking. Does your family have fast food &/or soda very much? If not, does your son drink a lot of juice? (I limit my 2 year old to 8 oz of juice a day) Are a lot of the snacks he eats have high fructose corn syrup in them? It is surprisingly in a lot of things. Even stuff like mac & cheese when eaten a lot can be unhealthy. If yes to any of those, then cut back a little. So, like I said, just take a good look at what your family is eating. It never hurts to take a look at the nutrtion in your household. Just don't stress about it. :-)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.B.

answers from Detroit on

Physical activity and developing a habit and love of it is very important, and it sounds like you are doing this - good for you! Anything to counterract the couch potato lifestyle is good. I'd certainly watch the sugars and fats but not make a big deal out of what you say about it. Offer healthy food, which is good for all of you, of course. My daughters use all-fruit preserves on the kids' pbj sandwiches, for instance. Avoid junk food, which is obvious. You don't want him to develop a taste for sugary, fatty foods but don't treat them like poison either so that they become forbidden fruit. I wouldn't comment on this to him at all and be careful what you say in front of him. If he's getting into food to meet emotional needs or out of boredom, distract him with building a fort or whatever is fun for him.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.N.

answers from Detroit on

Our pediatrician has been hinting to me about this for about a year now with my daughter who will be three in October. We are active (I coach figure skating nearly full-time, and she's always skating with me), and nutrition is very important to me. It's good for you to monitor his diet and exercise anyway, which it sounds like you are already doing. If you're uncomfortable with what his doctor said, try a second professional opinion. Then you'll feel more confident in your decision in how to deal with the "situation."

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I have been told the same thing since my five year old was a baby. His first peds told me I was overfeeding him, when in reality, I had him on a very strict diet! He didn't have an ounce of fast food until he was three, his favorite snack is a bowl of grape tomatoes and carrots, and he never drinks pop. I eventually switched peds (though for a different reason) and when his new doctor saw him for the first time, he just giggled and said "This boy is going to be over 6'5"."

I just took a look at his baby book and it showed he was 42 1/2 lbs and 40 1/2 inches at his 3 year check up. Since 4 months old, his weight has always been greater than his height. He is now 54 lbs and 48 1/2 inches at 5 years old. He has a six pack abs and chicken legs. Yes, his BMI is technically overweight, but BMI is not an accurate indicator for people who are genetically born to be bigger or smaller than the rest of us. (I also have a sister who is 5'4" and 100 lbs and her BMI says she is too far underweight, even though she eats like a pig! BTW, she was only 18 lbs when she was 2!)

You know your child best. If you feel the doctor may be correct, then yes, take a look at his activity levels and his diet. Otherwise, you are obviously in tune with your child and his needs, so continue doing what you know he needs to keep him healthy.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.H.

answers from Detroit on

I like most of your responses, and just wanted to add a tid bit. I don't let my family eat anything with high fructose corn syrup for a few reasons. And it's in everything from bread to frozen foods. So if you just eliminated HFCS your whole family would be so much better for it. :)

1. Consumers trying to avoid genetically modified foods should avoid HFCS. It is almost certainly made from genetically modified corn and then it is processed with genetically modified enzymes. I've seen some estimates claiming that virtually everything--almost 80 percent--of what we eat today has been genetically modified at some point. * Any corn product not labeled organic is genetically modified, most corns are now MADE to grow there own pesticide. It's not a natural process at all, it evolves gene splitting. We won't really know what it will do to us until it's to late, we are the lab rats.

2. Sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose. When sugar is given to rats in high amounts, the rats develop multiple health problems, especially when the rats were deficient in certain nutrients, such as copper. The researchers wanted to know whether it was the fructose or the glucose moiety that was causing the problems. So they repeated their studies with two groups of rats, one given high amounts of glucose and one given high amounts of fructose. The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous results. The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy--that means that their hearts enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular development. Dr. Field explains that fructose in combination with copper deficiency in the growing animal interferes with collagen production. (Copper deficiency, by the way, is widespread in America.) In a nutshell, the little bodies of the rats just fell apart. The females were not so affected, but they were unable to produce live young.

3. HFCS is processed by the liver, not in the stomach. As a result the body doesn't get the message of how many calories it consumed, and you keep feeling hungry. The liver converts it to fatty acids, that go out into the blood stream. Now you have slowed the blood flow, and increased the fats going into your vessels.

4. Not only does this form of fructose have more damaging effects in the presence of copper deficiency(most of Americans have a copper deficiency btw), fructose also inhibits copper metabolism--another example of the sweeteners double-whammy effect. A deficiency in copper leads to bone fragility, anemia, defects of the connective tissue, arteries, and bone, infertility, heart arrhythmias, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks, and an inability to control blood sugar levels.

The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention by Kerrie K. Saunder is a really good book, even if your not into a vegetarian diet. There's so much information on how the body works. And what the foods most Americans eat does to it. Were really causing unhealthy bodies, just by following what were told to do.

http://www.betterschoolfood.org/media/newsletters/070808....
http://www.westonaprice.org/motherlinda/cornsyrup.html
http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/highfructose.html

I'm sure you'll find whats best for your family. A. H

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.M.

answers from Detroit on

Hi M C, Well here is my opinion, for what it's worth. I am a mother of 2 grown kids and 3 grandchildren and 1 on the way. I had my daughter come out of the Peds office with her first child almost in tears because they stressed the fact that her child was under what he should be in height and weight by their CHARTS. Well, I got upset because they dont take the time to realize that his mom is 5ft tall and his dad is 5'2. Of course they are short kids. The tallest in our family is 5'7. They usually go by the charts and not everyone fits into them! Just keep an eye on your child and he may be ready to have a growth spurt. I have watched my children and grandchildren gain weight and then grow. If he isnt eating alot of junk and getting exercise, and most 3 year olds never sit still for more than 2 minutes then I wouldnt worry too much, also look at your familys builds and weight to get your own average. Thats just my own opinion, for what its worth. Just dont worry so much right now. He is still just a baby! By the way, none of my kids or grandchildren are tall or overweight now. It just in the genes!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.J.

answers from Lansing on

MC,

I would call your health insurance and get an appointment with a nutritionist. There are things we all can do to improve our health and the health of our children.

We visited a nutritionist when our son was diagnosed with food intolerances. He is on the other end of the spectrum, too light weight. When we changed his diet he lost five pounds!

The nutritionist told us to feed him foods that are higher in natural fats. Lots of peanut butter, chicken, good veggies and fruits. He gained the weight back and has shown great improvement. I learned that some of the foods we had been giving him were nutritionally deficient. So I was really glad to get her advice.

Good luck with your son!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.M.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I'm surprised so many people are telling you to disregard it. Better to have wake up call now then in 6 or 7 or even 10 years when he's entering puberty and can't take the weight off. People are so quick to always say the doctor knows best and now suddenly he doesn't? Listen to your doctor.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.P.

answers from Detroit on

I get updates from Babycenter.com and just this week I got an update on my three year old that he should be losing his "baby" fat completely by now and fully developing into a little boy body. If he was fine six months ago he's not going to "add" baby fat to his body.

I would think if your doctor expressed concern then it's something you should at least consider. My kids (I know I'm very lucky) eat carrots and brocolli like crazy; they love granola bars and low fat yogurt and are even happy with just salad for dinner. They never get juice with sugar added or pop and when I do give them juice even without the sugar I water it down fifty/fifty. Trust me, they would eat cookies all day long if I let them but I don't!

I wouldn't completely discount what your doctor says, especially considering he sees how kids grow every day and monitors them through to adulthood.

Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.R.

answers from Detroit on

Hi...there has also been a TON of press lately on childhood obesity and the APA is putting into place a screening for childhood diabetes at well baby visits starting at a year! So with that in mind, I think docs right now are freakin out--probably going to far to one extreme. I bet your son is just great and 10 other docs will tell you that...maybe this ped is particularly sensitive to it due to all the media hype over the new screening procedures.
Best of luck, you sound like you are a super good mama trying to look out for her kiddies!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.M.

answers from Detroit on

Good Morning M C,
I checked his measurements with the chart in the American Pediatric Association book "Caring for your Baby and young child: Birth through 5"--- which is a GREAT resource book to have on your shelf!!-- and it looks like his height is in the 50 percentile, and his weight is above the 95th percentile. Which I don't think is a definate sign that he is on his way to a life of obesity, but maybe just take a fresh look at his eating habits. Is he eating enough fruits and vegetables? Drinking water? Is he eating toddler size portions and stopping when he is full? Or is he eating adult portions and then asking for 2nds and 3rds?
It sounds like he is getting enough exercise. Does he engage in more than 2 hours a day of "media" (watching TV, playing computer games etc.)

Since he is only 3 this is a great time just to double check and make sure that he is learning good lifetime healthy habits. If he is.... keep up the good work! If you notice somethings that maybe contributing to the extra weight, it is much easier to guide a 3 year old to good habits than to break a 13 year old of bad ones!

Good luck! He is so blessed to have a mom who cares so much about his overall health!
Peace,
B.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.G.

answers from Detroit on

honestly - I'd take it with a grain of salt. Who knows - your son may have a growth spurt in a week and it'll all even out. I really wouldn't make any modifications yet. Just watch and see. If he seemes to continue to put on weight then then I would look into monitoring his diet.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.B.

answers from Detroit on

Hello,
I was just reading and watching a video a couple of days ago about the foods that we eat, and how they contribute to gaining weight. I was watching a video about a food additive that makes us fat- MSG, which is Monsodium Glutamate. You can view this by going to www.godshealingword.org and click on watch videos, then go to MSG- the food additive killer. It is a 4 part series. The first part is about 6 minutes.
Hope this helps.
Good luck.
K.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.A.

answers from Detroit on

I get the same thing from my doctor. I do watch what my daughter eats and try to keep it within reason. We have incorporated more running in my daughters daily routine and other than that we are just keeping an eye on it. Everyone says she will outgrow it too so I am just monitoring it for now. Just make sure you son eats right and be aware.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.A.

answers from Lansing on

Babies and toddlers will usually grow out then up. So they will get heavier then get taller.

Ids he outside daily for at least a couple hours of play? How many snacks and what are they. my kids get 3 meals 3 snacks. Some of the snacks are carrots, water melon, frozen fruit, yogurt, granola bars, cheese and cracker ( one thing for each snack, not all of those for a snack) They also drink 1/4 juice mixed with 3/4 water. They are outside for at least 3 hours a day, not all at once...on andd off.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.K.

answers from Detroit on

I would try not to get a complex about it, but just keep an eye on things to make sure the situation doesn't get worse. Try to increase your activity levels if you can (maybe go for a morning AND an evening walk, or throw some family bike rides or swims at the YMCA in the mix) and try to limit sweets and empty calories as much as possible. I definitely would NOT throw the word "fat" around in front of your child or even talk about calories or that kind of thing. If he questions any changes, you could talk about how some foods make us healthy and strong and other foods zap our energy and don't make us strong and healthy. The same with activities (video games and TV viewing falling into the latter category of zapping energy and not helping you be strong and healthy).
Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.W.

answers from Jackson on

Honestly I wouldn't worry over a couple of pounds. Depending on the time of day the appt. was what he had eaten and drank prior to the appt. It is entirely possible that he was just heavier because of what he was attempting to digest.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches