My friends say my 2-year-old son is overweight.

My friends say my two-year-old son is overweight. He’s 37 inches tall and 33 pounds. Are they right? Is he too fat?

Your son is tall for his age (>97th percentile) and his weight (95th percentile) is appropriate for his height. No, he is not too fat. Your doctor can advise you if your son’s weight becomes excessive for his height by measuring his height and weight on a regular basis.

It is good that people are more conscious of the fact that fat children make fat adults. However, weight reduction plans for children are not recommended unless they have health complications. A very low-calorie eating plan could impair optimal brain development and growth potential. By the time a child is two, he has reached 50% of his adult brain size. From three to six years of age is the period of most rapid growth when his brain grows to 95% of adult brain size. New research from the National Institute of Health indicates that children’s brains may increase up to age 15. If protein and/or calories are limited during these growth periods, intelligence and/or potential height may be lower.

Usually, a diagnosis of overweight is made after a height-weight assessment. Then a goal of maintaining the current weight for several years may be made. This allows the child’s height to catch up to their weight. A weight loss plan for a child should only be prescribed by a doctor, not a weight conscious adult.