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25 Jul 2010

My child and the BMI tool
My 11 year old daughter is overweight. She has been slightly ''podgy'' from birth.

I have never made a fuss about it, I just ensure that we eat healthily and try to keep her as active as possible. The latter doesn''t come naturally - she prefers a sedentary lifestyle but does squad swimming training twice a week and modern dancing twice a week. I left it up to her to choose the activities she enjoys most. She also hikes most weekends. (she hates that)

I keep a very ''matter of fact'', laid back attitude because I dont want her to become too concerned about her weight, thereby possibly increasing her risk for eating disorders. She has often remarked on her weight and has even said that she eats too much. my response is just: " you can eat as much as you like, you must just eat healthily  it is WHAT you eat that is important, not how MUCH."  When she was younger, she even once asked how she could get " lintwurms"  because then she would get thin. This scared me.

We had a very long chat about it today again. I have never initiated these chats - she brings it up. She then mentioned several examples of who she regards as having the right weight and that she is fat.

I then tried a new approach and spoke to her about the BMI and that she must ignore whatever else she reads, sees or what friends tell her. That should be her only key because that is what the experts say is healthy and those who don''t even know what the BMI is, don''t know what they are talking about. (I tried to make it seem cool!)

When she countered this with some examples of thinner women, I could fortunately say that two of them had stopped menstruating and that even though they might think they look pretty, their bodies are showing them that they are too thin and unhealthy.

I really, really hope that I did the right thing. We used Health24''s BMI tool tonight and turned it into a fun activity. I''m overweight at the moment (I''m usually otherwise always around my goal weight), so it was ''safe'' to do mine as well so as not to make her feel even worse. We planned some exercise activities to do together and to test our BMI every month. Her BMI was 22.

Am I doing the right thing here? I''m trying with everything to make " health"  the key determinant or measurement here. I have to address the problem. Eventhough she isn''t morbidly obese, the odd person has made hurtful remarks about her weight and I can see that she is becoming very sensitive about the issue. I do foresee a problem psychologically if we don''t find a sensible, good and gentle way to reach her goal weight as naturally and carefree as possible.

I would really value your opinion.
Answer 417 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Mother
I have checked your daughter's BMI of 22 on my table for children and teenagers and for an 11-year-old girl, a BMI of 22 is classified as overweight, but not obese. Because your lassies is overweight and seems to want to do something about her situation, I would seriously suggest that you make an appointment to take her to a dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area).
The dietitian will assess her weight and also what she is currently eating and help you with an appropriate diet for your daughter. You are using the correct approach except that it is important how much she eats. This is something the dietitian will explain to her, namely that it is important for girls her age to eat healthy food in the correct quantities. The dietitian will have to work out a balanced diet for your daughter that still permits normal growth, but promotes weightloss. Keep up the good work with the exercise because most experts agree that increasing physical activity is one of the best ways of helping young people lose weight.
Best regards
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