What should my children weigh? How can I help them avoid being extremely overweight like me?

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My nine and a half-year-old son is 56 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. He has always been large for his age.

My six-year-old daughter is 46 inches tall and weighs 50 pounds. She has always been average for her age.

I am extremely overweight and my husband is of average weight. As a family, we are physically active for one to one and a half hours a day. Both children are involved in after-school sports also. What should my children weigh and how can I help my son and daughter avoid being extremely overweight like I am?

Your son’s healthy weight range is 76 to 87 pounds. He is tall (75th percentile) and overweight for age (more than 97th percentile). His BMI is 28.1 and should be 17.9 to 19.9 based on his height. I would recommend he maintain his weight while growing in height. This may take until he is 13 1/2 years of age, but I would not recommend a weight loss program as his brain is still growing.

Your daughter’s healthy weight range is 36 to 52 pounds. She is tall for age (75th percentile) and average weight (50th percentile). Her BMI is 16.6 and the average for her age is 15.2 to 17.1. She should continue to gain weight as she gets taller. She is at a healthy weight for height and age.

The best prevention to adult obesity is preventing overweight in childhood and adolescence. Getting regular exercise (30 to 60 minutes per day, 7 days per week) and not spending too much time sitting or inactive is important to maintaining a healthy weight.

In addition to this, provide a healthy eating plan. Kids need a variety of foods in 6 small meals per day or 3 regular meals and 3 snacks. Don’t make their weight or food the focus, make healthy lifestyle choices the main attraction. Involve them in grocery shopping and meal planning so they learn some life skills.