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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is my child overweight or just preparing for a growth spurt?

    My son is 11 years old, he is taller than most of his friends but not so tall that he stands out. In the past 12 months instead of filling out and then stretching out he seems to be having little growth spurts and is staying quite solid. He loves his vegetables and always has a good breakfast. In general we eat a well balanced diet. He loves sport so is quite active and is not often sitting around. Is it just that he is at the age where his body is developing and growing or should i be concerned that he is not stretching out like he used to? His height is 155cm and weight 55kgs.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Elizabeth Newsham-West is committed to optimising the health and well-being of people across all ages within the Mount Tamborine community.  She works as a domicillary … View Profile

    Clinicians use a number of  graphs to determine if a child's weight right for thier height.

    Your child is entering the  stage of high growth and development where boys generally from age 12-14 years can grow up to 10cm in a year depending on their age and height. If you are at all concerned about your child's weight visit your GP and they can discuss the normal growth and development for a boy your son's age, and this will reassure you.

    What is most important during this stage is ensure your son meets his nutritional needs and  good appetite by using healthy foods high in fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, wholegrain breads and cereal foods, lean meat an alternative, adequate low fat dairy products so he can continue to participate well in his sport, get the nutrients his body needs while he is growing and this will help him have a healthy body weight.

    Its always a challenge keeping your adolescent child well fed at this time.

  • Maria Nguyen

    HealthShare Member

    I think your son is perfectly fine and is not overweight. As long as he is active, eats healthy he should be fine. Of course, if you are concerned about your child growth, contact your pediatrician. You can always check this chart out to see if your child is on the right weight and height track http://www.chartsgraphsdiagrams.com/HealthCharts/growth-2-20-boys.html

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  • Samantha Ling

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Samantha is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD), consultant and food and nutrition enthusiast. Samantha works in a private practice on the Central Coast, NSW, Rostant … View Profile

    I think Elizabeth has summed it up nicely - your son seems to be a prefectly healthy growing boy. As already stated, just try to ensure he meets his nutritional needs and continue to encouraged his physical activity (exercise) that he is already participating in. Combined, this should ensure that your child is a healthy young boy.

    If your worried if your child is eating enough check out the latest Australian dietary guidelines for infants and adolescents to get an idea of the variety of foods your son should be consuming and in what portions: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n55f_children_brochure_1.pdf

    If you're still concerned take him to your GP and asked them to check his growth patterns. They should use an array of measures to determine if he is growing adequately. Generally, the BMI (body mass index) is not a reliable measure for children due to their rapid growth patterns. It's more of a guideline to determine if your height is in proportion to your weight and doesn't factor in body composition such as bone density, muscle mass etc. Children's growth charts are always useful to get an idea where your child's height and weight falls with the rest of the population within that age group - your GP can run through this with you or you can access them on the link above that Maria has posted (2 years to 20 years for height and weight). Having a quick look at the graph's your son seems to fall in the higher percentiles (95th), so he is quite tall for his age and his weight is simply matching with his height. ~5% of children aged the same age as your son are as tall/heavy.

    Samantha Ling
    Rostant Nutrition
    (Find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/rostantnutrition )

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