Knowing your body weight status
PARENTS should always provide their children with optimal nutrition and ensure that they are physically fit. But how can parents determine if their children are eating right and growing well? Here are some tips to help parents out.
Energy balance concept
Are energy and calories the same? Energy is released from food and beverage components known as carbohydrate, protein and fat and it is measured in units called calories.
Energy balance is a relationship between “Energy In” (from food and beverage that we ingest) and “Energy Out” (through physical activities, basal metabolic rate (BMR), digestion and absorption of nutrients in our body). The first important principle of energy intake must be estimated on the basis of energy out rather than energy in.
Why balance it up?
Healthy eating and regular physical activities (accumulation of 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity daily) are important components for reducing the risk of obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, high-blood pressure and high cholesterol.
When the amount of your child’s Energy In and Energy Out are the same, then his weight will stay the same.
But, if the amount of your child’s Energy In is greater than his Energy Out, he will gain weight. This, if left untreated, can lead to obesity. On the other hand, if the amount of your child’s Energy In is less than his Energy Out, he will lose weight.
Health risks related to unhealthy body weight
Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood. Overweight and obese children are more likely to stay obese into adulthood and develop NCDs such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.
In addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risks of bone fractures, hypertension and insulin resistance.
The BMI calculator
The Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator is a simple and effective way to monitor your child’s growth. The BMI calculator ensures that he is at the right weight and height for his age. Parents often compare their child’s growth with other children. This should not be done as children grow at different rates. Here is how you measure your child’s BMI: 1. Measure you child’s height and weight 2. Use the formula to calculate his BMI 3. Compare your child’s BMI to the standard growth chart from the World Health Organization. Boys and girls have different charts so remember to use the appropriate one. 4. Using a pencil, find your child’s age on the horizontal axis of the chart and move vertically up. 5. Find your child’s BMI on the vertical axis and move horizontally across to the right of the chart. 6. At the point where these two lines meet, draw a small cross or dot. The region where the small cross or dot falls on indicates your child’s growth status.