We will go over BMI at every annual visit in addition to their growth charts. BMI is a measure of weight adjusted for height and helps us assess the level of body fat and overall health of your child. The table below helps to understand the percentiles and will help guide discussion during your child’s visit:
- < 5th percentile = underweight
- 5th percentile – 84th percentile = healthy weight
- > 95th percentile = obese
- > 99th percentile = morbidly obese
It is often uncomfortable to think of a child’s weight as unhealthy because “they are just kids” but unfortunately, there are very real long term consequences to unhealthy weight in childhood. According to Strong 4 life, 1 million children in Georgia are overweight or obese. These children are at a higher risk for developing adult diseases like type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, joint pains, high blood pressure, liver problems and high cholesterol levels.
As always, it is important to remember that children should never cut calories or diet. This can result in a disruption in their normal growth patterns and may prevent them from taking in nutrients that they need for normal growth and development of organs. We strongly encourage that they learn to make healthy choices, eat appropriate portion sizes and stay active. The following links provide some great ideas for nutrition at this age:
Here is a list of simple things that can be done to make your family more healthy:
- Make fresh fruits and vegetables 1/2 of your plate. Fresh fruits and veggies provide automatic portion control and provide added fiber and nutrients to your diet.
- Drink more water and avoid fruit juices, sodas and other sugary drinks like sweet tea.
- Make activity a regular part of your family’s routine – even 30 minutes of activity daily will go a long way in instilling healthy habits.
- limit screen time to as little as possible – children this age learn best from interaction and play.
Sleep is very important to overall health and well being in children – a typical school aged child requires about 10 hours of sleep every night. They still need predictable bedtime routines that are developmentally appropriate and need “down time” that is not interrupted by television or other forms of stimulation (computers, cell phones, caffeinated beverages).
The internet is a wonderful resource for all of us but school age children do not have the developmental ability to understand all of its complexity and possible dangers.
- Parents must become computer literate and understand basics like video chatting, blocking websites and monitoring log in histories.
- Keep the computer in a common area so usage can be better monitored -technology including televisions should be kept out of bedrooms.
- Take your child’s concerns of a computer interaction being “icky” or “scary” – they may have witnessed something negative on the screen – be available to talk it through.
- Slowly teach children the basics of internet safety like not giving personal information over the internet, using appropriate tone in conversing on the internet, and not frequenting chat rooms until they are an appropriate age etc.
- The following link give some great information on internet safety: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/The-Internet-and-Your-Family.aspx
5 years – generally children are up to date with immunizations – if immunizations were not completed at age 4 – MMR, Varivax, DTaP and IPV boosters are given
At age 5 yr: Blood work is completed only if there are risk factors associated with anemia or cardiac complications in the family. All questionnaires should be completed prior to your visit to assess additional testing needs for your child.