Weighty Question - This One for the Kids

Updated on October 09, 2011
A.V. asks from Silver Spring, MD
18 answers

Maybe this is just me thinking out loud but how can you let your kid get to be 56 pounds at 3 yrs old?

Today DD and I were at the park and there was a grandmother with her gaggle of grandkids. Two were average sized, maybe a little baby fat, but nothing unusual. The younger one was 2.5 yrs old. Two others were big kids and I would never have pegged them for being 3/4 - they were tall. However, one wanted to be picked up and put on a swing. The grandmother got a good chuckle when I had trouble doing it. It was like he was rooted to the ground! She then told me he weighed 56 pounds. FIFTY-SIX?! My DD is barely 30. The grandmother said he has trouble breathing. How can his parents not do something about it? The other child (who I think was the 4 yr old) weighed in around 58 lbs. Sure they were taller than some of the other kids, but that didn't account for all of their size. I admit I'm petite, but together those two preschoolers weighed more than me. I admit I was a bit shocked.

I so felt for the younger kid. He couldn't run with the other kids. He couldn't get up on a swing and people couldn't lift him easily to get him there. His grandmother said she didn't even try.

We are all different sizes. This observation isn't about size but health. My SD outweighs me and is much curvier than me but has no major health issues. And if you are happy being a bigger person (a whale, to reference something from yesterday), then that's your adult choice. But your kid? So big he can't breathe? Can't play?

Mommas (and dads), what do you suggest to a parent who knows their kid is big but doesn't know what to do or finds it hard to implement what the pediatrician may have told them? Did you have to slim down a child? What worked for you? Did you have to change your behaviors?

Edit to add that I realize medical conditions can be at play but that didn't seem to be the case here, with talking with the grandparent. And, yes, to be blunt the children were fat. The younger one had no visible neck, but I didn't think I needed to clarify. I did NOT say anything to the grandmother to suggest to her what she should do for the kids. I just said that I was not expecting him to be so heavy as I'm used to my daughter. The grandmother wasn't thin, but I wouldn't call her obese. Had I been rude, she would not have continued to talk to me or wished me a good afternoon. The grandmother attributed his breathing problems to his weight, not asthma or anything else. And by the way, we were off to the side while the kids played, not talking about the kid in front of him.

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So What Happened?

I honestly hope this produces ideas for other parents and hope to see the kid back at the playground. He played nicely with others to the best of his ability.

Featured Answers


answers from Orlando on

Oh gosh you ladies would see my son and cringe! He's 5 and weighs 67 pounds! No I don't overfeed him twinkles and ho-hos all day either,he very active and eats healthy organic foods. He takes medicine that causes weight gain. But you wouldn't know that by looking at him you would just feel bad for the poor fat kid and think what horrible parents he must have! I'm glad you answered about medical conditions but sometimes people are to quick to judge without knowing what's behind something. Just saying...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with you that is disgusting.. I think the partents should be held liable, and arrested. Day cares dont help, some feed these kids junk because it is what they will eat. That family needs that Jamie guy to come and wake them up.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

I know a 5 yo who wears a size 10. Her 2.5 yo sister wears a 5/6.They do not have health problems. Their parents let them eat junk food whenever they want.

Sure, we can say those kids have "medical issues". But 99.9% of the time when we see overweight kids, they are walking w/their overweight siblings and overweight parents w/carts full of junk food and sodas instead of fruits and veggies and non-processed foods, so you and I both know alot of these kids aren't suffering from any medical issues.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I really really wish that parents of disgustingly obese children that don't have a medical diagnosis that attributes to the weight would be found neglectful! It disgusts me there was a child on my 4 yr olds tball team that weighed more than my 9 yr old. The poor kid couldn't even finish a 45 minute game. The boys beverage for the game 2 liter coke!!! His snack a full size bag of chips and a candy bar!

Edited: Mandy b. That would fall under medical the only time I cringe with disgust is when I SEE the parents giving their child soda, candy, chips, etc

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I try hard not to judge, because often there are medical reasons for kids being a particular weight. Our son, for instance, HATES to eat and has food anxiety, so he's super skinny. We have struggled for many years trying to get him to eat and we have to feed him fatty foods under doctor's orders to try to help him gain weight. I can only imagine what outsiders must think seeing how thin he is and what we send in his school lunch.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Well, we know that childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Within the space of one generation it has skyrocketed, and now our children's life expectancy may be lower than ours. I just don't get it. With the exception of people like Mandy and her child, why don't parents with fat children ( let's not beat around the bush here), see what's happening?

Is it a matter of nutritional education? Not wanting to say no? Too much screen time and not enough activity? To me it's a no-brainer. I just don't get it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

"Sure they were taller than some of the other kids but that didn't account for all of their size."

Is that a roundabout way of saying, "They were fat"? You refer to their height a couple of times but not to whether they appeared to be obese. Were they indeed tall and stocky --not rolls of fat, but stocky and thick? Or were they frankly obese?

And you had never met them before and didn't even see their parents to know if mom or dad were tall, or stocky, or fat, or thin. You don't know whether these kids chomp on fried chicken all day or were dealt a genetic hand that makes them big or both or neither. As for the trouble breathing, did grandma say that was because the kid was overweight?

You don't know this family at all and didn't see the parents. I'd never suggest to a stranger that they trim down a kid because I don't know the whole story - and it would be impolite, frankly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

This is a subject i hold very dear to me. I think nutrition and exercise are just as important as any other lesson a kid can learn in life. Starting out heavy a kid has almost zero chance of living a life not packed with ridicule and medical intervention and i think its very sad!

I for one am happy to see the focus on school lunches and kid meals shifting towards healthier choices.



answers from San Francisco on

I think children need to play outdoors more. With all the technology, they tend to do more sitting than exercising every day. If all parents would make sure that their children got at least one hour of physical activity daily, I think we could get childhood obesity under control. Think about it, you didn't see so many obese children when there was no television or video games because kids were actively doing things. Turn off the TV, and video games, put the hand held games away and let's play tag or baseball or basketball or hide and seek or basketball or just anything that gets people off their rumps!



answers from Pittsburgh on

It is horrifying. I have no idea how parents can do this to their kids. On the other hand, look at how many families go to McDonalds every week (or more), feed them french fried, pizza and chicken nuggets and soda. Of course kids enjoy eating this stuff, but it is our jobs as parents to keep them healthy and teach them healthy habits for life. Other than becoming involved in the public policy debate and lobbying our schools to improve school lunches, remove soda machines etc (NY public schools are doing a great job), I don't know what we can do.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I think that sometimes parents just dont realize- Think about it you see your kids everyday then when they leave for a few days ( or weeks) then come home they look ten years older all grown up what happened to the little boy that left here a week ago.
When my son was 8 he started tackle football we had a kid on our team that weighed 120 pounds- we had to get pants from the high school because the little league pants were too small-
I asked his mom what he ate on the day they weighed in- waffles from Ihop for breakfast- a little ceasar's pizza for lunch with crazy bread and he had drank at least a litre of soda that day if not more-


answers from Washington DC on

My 11 year old weighs 82 lbs and my 9 year old weighs 68 lbs. Both are 'slim' but VERY solid..

Greg was 17 lbs at 3 months old and the chunkiest monkey EVER...Nicky wasn't soo chunky..

I would encourage the kids to get out doors more! Maybe the kid has a thyroid problem and can't shed pounds easily...maybe the parents don't encourage outdoor play or anything other than XBOX - it's good that the grandmother was getting him out- hopefully, she'll do it more often!

I watch my kids weight - not because I think they'll be obese but because I don't want them to be too heavy to run....how sad it would be not to be able to play!!!



answers from New York on

Not in this boat, nor have I known anyone near to me facing this situation, but I understand with the very young set, the correct course of action is to make sure they eat only healthy foods, encourage activity, and wait for them to grow into their weight.



answers from Chicago on

My brother has let this happen to my nephew. He is 10 years old and weighs just over 200 lbs!!! My brother is 450 lbs, and his wife is close to 400 lbs. It saddens me when I hear that he's bullied for being overweight. I watch him try to play and he can't run, struggles physically, and is unable to make friends easily.



answers from Savannah on

My 10 year old neice weighs more than my 14 year old boy. 130 lbs. i weighed that in college, not elementary school. my mom has custody of her and gives in to her requests for food. yes my mom knows what she is doing and continues to do it anyways. it bothers me to no end but i am not the parent here. the parent/caregiver has to do the right thing.


answers from Santa Fe on

People need to be less judgmental. My cousin was very chunky and large as a child. He looked very overweight with very round pudgy cheeks. Then his junior year in high school he shot up to be 6 ft 5 and suddenly he did not look overweight any more. I did not recognize him the next time I saw him! I see what you are saying - families should be careful not to let their children overeat or eat too much junk food. But that is between that family and their pediatrician.


answers from Lakeland on

It may not be from eating at all, there could be other factors. My daughter is heavy she has always been since birth. My sister has gotten mad at me saying I feed her too much or that she shouldn't eat junk. Well she eats less than most kids. She doesn't like foods that are really sweet or really salty. I have seen pictures of her dad as a baby and he was very heavy too along with her half brother and sister. I think in my daughter’s case it is genetics. She is 5 and weighs about 70 lbs.



answers from Chicago on

This could just be uninformed parents making bad food choices for their family, but I learned never to judge a book by the cover.

I had similar thoughts about a boy in our town who goes to our church, and I kept thinking how can they let this child be so big. Turns out he is in kidney failure and it is a medical condition. I had no idea until they ran a fundraiser for him and I felt terrible for jumping to conclusions. You never know the back story to someone's life, and it could be the parents just don't know any better. Yes there are parents out there who truly do not know how to feed their families a healthy balanced diet.

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