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Simply Her (Singapore) - - Kids -

ou used to coo over your child’s chubby cheeks but now that he’s older, you no­tice he’s be­come too pudgy for his age. It’s a prob­lem that af­fects roughly one in 10 chil­dren here. Fig­ures from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion put the na­tional obe­sity rate of stu­dents in Sin­ga­pore at 11 per cent in 2011.

Child­hood obe­sity is no small mat­ter. “It in­creases a child’s risk of de­vel­op­ing chronic dis­eases such as di­a­betes, high blood pres­sure, asthma and sleep ap­noea,” shares YY Low, a health psy­chol­o­gist who has coun­selled chil­dren with weight is­sues. “It can also cause psy­choso­cial is­sues like low self-es­teem, which in turn af­fects their health and qual­ity of life.”

Body Mass In­dex (BMI) is gen­er­ally a good yard­stick of how much body fat a per­son has. In chil­dren, BMI is age- and gen­der­spe­cific as the amount of body fat they have changes as they grow older, says YY.

You can easily cal­cu­late your child’s BMI online, with his height and weight. There­after, you can plot his BMI against the Health Pro­mo­tion Board’s BMI Per­centile charts, which can be found at http://bit.ly/1JGJRVm.

“A child is con­sid­ered over­weight if his weight places him above the 97th per­centile on the chart,” notes Bibi Chia, prin­ci­pal di­eti­tian at Raf­fles Di­a­betes & En­docrine Cen­tre. Be un­der­stand­ing, en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ive. “Avoid words and la­bels that will make him feel con­scious about his weight or ap­pear­ance. Also, be re­al­is­tic about his weight loss and avoid mak­ing com­par­isons with other chil­dren, as this will af­fect his self-es­teem. Ul­ti­mately, it is im­por­tant for your child to main­tain a healthy body im­age, and know that he is un­con­di­tion­ally loved and ac­cepted by you,” says YY.

Don’t de­crease your child’s food por­tions

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