Weight Problems in Children

For loss of weight in children of 12 and over, see chart 2

Check your child is within healthy limits by regularly measuring his or her weight and height. A long-term weight problem may increase your child’s risk of future health problems.

  • What is your concern about your child’s weight?

    • Overweight
      • Possible cause Your child may be eating more than is needed for the amount of exercise he or she is getting (see Obesity in children). Rarely, weight gain is due to a hormonal disorder or to prescribed drugs such as corticosteroids.

        Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • Underweight

      Has your child been underweight for long?

      • Yes
        • Possible cause It is likely that your child’s thinness is constitutional, particularly if either parent is thin.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor to confirm that there is no additional medical cause.

      • No

        How is your child’s appetite?

        • Good

          Does your child have either of the following symptoms?

          • Diarrhoea
            • Possible cause Your child may be unable to absorb food properly due to a condition such as lactose intolerance or coeliac disease.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

          • Increased thirst and need to pass urine
            • Possible cause Your child could have diabetes mellitus.

              Medical help URGENT! Phone your doctor immediately!

          • Neither of the above
            • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your child’s loss or gain in weight, make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Poor
          • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your child’s loss or gain in weight, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Warning

Special diets

The dietary needs of children differ from those of adults. An unbalanced diet can adversely affect growth and development. You should not put your child on a reducing diet or restrict specific food groups except on the advice of your doctor.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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