Working out your child's weight in relation to their health can be tricky. Asking how much your toddler weighs is vital to their health and wellbeing.
So how much should my toddler weigh? Well that depends on their average height and weight ratio - or their BMI.
Recognised throughout the NHS as a correct method of measurement from between the ages of 2-18, your child's BMI can be easily calculated using a weighing scale with a BMI calculation function, or the NHS BMI calculator.
The BMI calculator works out if a child or young person is:
- underweight – on the 2nd centile or below
- healthy weight – between the 2nd and 91st centiles
- overweight – 91st centile or above
- very overweight – 98th centile or above
What is a 'centile?'
'Centile' short for percentile and is in reference to the measurement chart in your child's 'red book'. For example if a child’s height is on the 50th centile, it means that 50% of children at their exact age are shorter than them but still likely to be in the normal range. If a child is on the 6th centile, it means that 6% of children are smaller than them. Small, but still likely to be in normal range. If a child is on the 0.01th centile, this might represent normal for them, but may fall outside of the normal range, and would prompt further investigation.
What are the risks?
The risks of not understanding your toddler's weight can have serious repercussions for your child's health.
'One in 3 children in the UK are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, according to Public Health England. ' - nhs.co.uk
Extensive studies on 729,000 children by Manchester University found that simply weighing children at school age was not sufficient for the overall health of our children. The lead researcher concluded in an interview with the Daily Mail that children should instead be weighed regularly from the age of 2 (you can read the report HERE).
Immediate health problems linked to childhood obesity include:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
- Breathing problems, such as asthma and sleep apnea.
- Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.
- Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (i.e., heartburn).
- Psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.
- Low self-esteem and lower self-reported quality of life.
- Social problems such as bullying and stigma.
Long term health issues are also a serious factor to childhood obesity including type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of being overweight as an adult.
What if my child weighs too little?
An underweight child is of equal concern to parents (especially when you are a parent who knows the sheer frustration of a picky eater). Is your child underweight because they eat too little? Are they simply very active? Or is there an underlying health condition? Regular weighing will help to understand your child’s weight better.
The Calpol Factor
Do you administer your child’s medication for aches and pains or a fever based on your child’s weight or their age? Many parents administer painkillers to their children based on age (according to the side of the medicine bottle) - this is not wrong BUT you can administer children’s paracetamol and ibuprofen according to their weight. This might be why your very tall five year old may still be complaining of a headache.
For more advice on child weight please refer to your medical professional such as your GP or walk in centre.
What should I use to weigh my toddler?
The M-400 is the ideal weighing scale for weighing your toddler at home. A highly accurate and is used throughout the NHS by GPs, hospitals and health visitors.
For more information on baby toddler or child scales contact us.