Can seemingly healthy round and chubby babies be actually malnourished?
Yes! Round and chubby babies can actually be malnourished.
Malnutrition is not just under-nutrition, it covers over-nutrition as well. The diet of Undernourished babies is usually lacking in energy and protein (macro-nutrients) along with other vitamins and minerals (micro-nutrients). But the dietary habits of over-nourished babies include more energy / calories but less of the vital micro-nutrients and right type and amount of macro-nutrients.
Here are some statistics about malnutrition in children:
It has been estimated that worldwide over 22 million children under the age of 5 are obese, and one in 10 children is overweight
Study conducted among 24,000 school children in south India showed that the proportion of overweight children increased from 4.94 percent of the total students in 2003 to 6.57 percent in 2005 demonstrating the time trend of this rapidly growing epidemic
A study from northern India reported a childhood obesity prevalence of 5.59 per cent in the higher socioeconomic strata when compared to 0.42 per cent in the lower
Many young children struggle with excess weight. Almost 1 in 3 children ages 5 to 11 is considered to be overweight or obese. Weighing too much increases the chances that young people may develop some health problems—now and later in life.As a parent or other caregiver, you can do a lot to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating and physical activity habits are important for your child’s well-being. You can take an active role to help your child—and your whole family—learn healthy habits that last a lifetime.
How can I tell if my child is overweight?
Telling whether a child is overweight isn’t always easy. Children grow at different rates at different times. Also, the amount of body fat changes with age and differs between girls and boys.
One way to determine a person’s weight status is to calculate body mass index (BMI). The BMI measures a person’s weight in relation to his or her height. The BMI of children is age- and sex-specific and known as the “BMI-for-age.” BMI-for-age uses growth charts created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the year 2000.
A number called a percentile shows how your child’s BMI compares with the BMI of others. For example, if your child’s BMI is in the 90th percentile, this means that his or her BMI is greater than the BMI of 89 percent of children of the same age and sex. The main BMI-for-age categories are these:
- Healthy weight: 5th to 84th percentile
- Overweight: 85th to 94th percentile
- Obese: 95th percentile or greater
Why should I be concerned?
There are many reasons to care if your child is in the overweight or obese category. In the short run, he or she may develop joint pain and/or breathing problems. These health issues may make it hard to keep up with friends. Some children may develop obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, because of excess weight.
Youth who weigh too much may become obese adults. This increases the chances that they may develop heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers as adults.
If you are worried about your child’s weight, talk to your health care provider. He or she can check your child’s overall health and tell you if weight management may be helpful. Don’t put your child on a weight-loss diet unless your health care provider tells you to.
Also read: Being chubby – Is it good for baby’s health?
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