How To Tell If Your Toddler Is Overweight?

How To Tell If Your Toddler Is Overweight?

28 Oct 2022 | 3 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 740 Articles

It’s a good sign when a baby gains weight. However, there may be chances that your toddler is heavier than what’s normal. Yes, toddlers can be overweight, and it’s not always easy for parents to tell if they are. 

So it’s important to check in with your child’s paediatrician to see if they are on track weight-wise. If you get a handle on their weight at this age, you can even put an early stop to future health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.

Know The Numbers

It’s not just your toddler’s weight or height that you need to watch during toddlerhood, but you also need to find out their body mass index (BMI). A BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. All age groups can calculate their BMI, but it can be an accurate measurement, especially for toddlers, who don’t have a lot of muscle mass that affects their weight.

When the 2-year checkup begins, your paediatrician should check your child’s weight, height, and BMI. They’ll show you a growth chart with how your child’s numbers compare to other kids of their age and gender, called their BMI percentile. For instance, a child in the 70th percentile has a BMI that’s higher than 70% of other kids their age.

Hence, these percentiles help you know if your baby is at a healthy weight.

  • Underweight = BMI is below the 5th percentile
  • Healthy weight = BMI is in the 5th to 84th percentile
  • Overweight = BMI is in between 85th to 94th percentile
  • Obese = BMI is in the 95th percentile or above
overweight toddler and toddler is overweight
If your toddler is overweight, the Body Mass Index calculator percentile will be between the 85th to 94th percentile / Image credit – Pexels

How Much Should My Toddler Weigh?

Just by looking at your child, it can be challenging to determine whether he/she is too heavy for his age. It’s important to note that not every big kid is overweight. In certain cases, kids who have a sports body frame are larger than average. Plus,  since growth isn’t a continuous progression during childhood, there can be minor changes along the way, leading to your tot gaining weight in what seems like an uneven manner.

overweight toddler and toddler is overweight
An overweight toddler needs to visit the doctor in a few months again as toddlers grow in spurts / Image credit – Pexels

According to the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is recommended that you calculate your child’s body mass index (BMI), either on your own or with your paediatrician’s help. 

To calculate BMI at home, take exact measurements of your tot’s height and weight and enter this info into a BMI percentile calculator such as the CDC’s. The results will let you know your child’s BMI percentile for his age and sex.

Toddlers usually grow in spurts and hence the measurement at a single visit won’t always be a cause for serious concern. So if your child is in the 85th percentile or higher, your paediatrician will usually ask you to come back again in a few months for another check-in. 

If your child is overweight in two consecutive visits, that shows that a child is overweight and you’ll have to take the necessary steps.

Cover Image credit – Pexels



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