Healthy growth and weight in children
Eating well and being physically active is crucial for kids' growth, development and health.
What you give your child to eat, and how you encourage them to do physical activity, can help them grow and develop and form healthy habits for life. We've got loads of tips on how to LiveLighter as a family.
Should I be worried about my child’s weight?
Children grow at different rates and sometimes it’s impossible to tell if a child is a healthy weight just by looking at them.
Normal growth during childhood and adolescence involves weight gain and an increase in body size. Too little or too much food, or an imbalance of nutrients over a period of time, can alter this physical growth.
If your child experiences more than two of the symptoms on this checklist, they may benefit from a visit to a GP for a health assessment. Your GP will be able to assess your child's growth and development and give advice about building healthy habits as a family.
- Wears clothes that are two sizes too big for his/her age
- Has rolls or skin folds around waist
- Snores when asleep
- Mentions getting teased about weight
- Gets very puffed or red in the face after running for 10 minutes continuously
- Doesn't participate in games at school or doesn't want to go out with other children
- Eats adult size food portions of high fat or high sugar foods
- Is always hungry or asking for high fat or high sugar foods - although their appetite may change when they are experiencing growth spurts
- Doesn't regularly eat a high fibre breakfast
- Skips meals regularly
- Eats more than two serves of 'extra' foods each day, such as sugary drinks, cakes, muffins, pies, biscuits or high sugar muesli bars
- Drinks sugary cordial or soft drink more than three times a week
- Eats high fat foods such as pies, pasties, sausage rolls, chips or hot chips more than three days a week
- Eats high sugar foods such as muffins, cakes, biscuits more than three days a week
- Has take-away or fast-food meals more than once a week
- Watches TV/video games for more than two hours each day
It's important to remember that if you are worried about your child's weight, a health professional is best placed to assess your child's weight and lifestyle, and guide you on lifestyle changes. Find out more through the Government's practical guidelines for a healthy child.