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Let's not get stuck on a label for childhood obesity, let's get moving on solutions

Posted on Aug 08, 2008 by Maggie LaBarbera

Well, according to this article, England's government has now created a new national policy measuring program that essentially will send height and weight measurements home as part of a school report card.

Here is a few interesting notes:

  • they will not state the child's BMI (they should have a BMI to age percentile for their country, though)
Telling these measures without the BMI score (in my opinion) does not give parents good information. Why, you ask. Well, weight has to determined "healthy, overweight etc, relative to height. If you weigh 50 pounds and are 3 foot tall that is very different than a 50 pound person that is 4 1/2 feet tall. So that is why we have a BMI measurement. It gives a relative number based on these two factors and helps us gauge if we are at a healthy weight.

Just in case you don't know, for adults:

  • below 18.5 Underweight
  • 18.5-24.9 Normal
  • 25-29.9 Overweight (66% of us Americans are here or in the next one)
  • 30 and above: obese
Okay, back to kids, but kids are growing and so BMI scores are not so easy to use as a guage for their weight status because we have to factor where they are on the growth chart. So we use: BMI to age percentile  (to read more and check out what your child's BMI score is click here.

I am not sure how this will completely help parents when England doesn't give them all the information.

And then one other note:

  • obese children will not be catorgized as obese, they will use the words: "extremely overweight".
We have this problem here in the US.

What can we learn from this. How many of you go to the doctor and he/she tells you what your child's height and weight is. Do they calculate the BMI score? Do they tell you what it means? Here is a pediatric sheet (scroll to the bottom of the page)  you can take to your child's annual visit to discuss key points like BMI score so that you as parents are getting all the key health points discussed. Early detection is the key and prevention is the solution. So information is everything!

I was at an obesity conference a few months ago and it's a "hot" topic. Should we tell parents that their child is obese, some health organizations say "YES". Other health and governing bodies say "NO". Too harsh.

Does it really matter? Here is where government and organizations can get bogged down over something so trivial. The child is at risk for serious life long health issues. Who cares what you label it, the meaning is the same.  So shouldn't we just be honest and just give them all the information they need!  It's not about the label, it is about helping that child and family move towards a healthier lifestyle.

And it has to start today. Don't focus on what your child has been eating... Let's focus on making one change this week. I have fun agreements that you can print up to use a discussion guide for changing food habits. As always, keep it simple, one goal at a time and be patient. Changing habits takes time.




Sunday, Aug 24, 2008 @ 11:44 PM

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My congratulation with gold's second place on Olympic Games.<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> Basketball team was the best!
Wednesday, Dec 03, 2008 @ 11:57 AM

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Hello I like your post not get stuck on a label for childhood obesity, les get moving on solutions
Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009 @ 10:28 PM

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This is a great subject with good data so well done on an interesting topic that should be discussed. Did you totally agree with the top half of this? I wonder about Kids Basketball Games. The rest was fine and informative. Ill check back soon for any added comments, thanks.
Nourish- Chef Solus
Thursday, Jan 22, 2009 @ 06:08 PM

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Kids basketball is a great form of exercise and very fun. Of course if the child likes the sport. Don't want to get stuck forcing them to do an activity they don't enjoy to help lose weight or be physically fit. Because then this becomes another negative association with being healthy. But having said all that, my son loved basketball and played for many years. One of his best buds was always chubby growing up and then got in to playing basketball at the local gym and fell in love with it. he lost 30 pounds without even trying. So any sport or activity that gets kids moving is great!!

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