|Children Are Getting Fatter|
There are more obese children and fewer thin children. The average-weight children are fatter than they used to be.
What Seems Normal Is Really Too Fat
One consequence of this is that parents who have a healthy weight child may think that their child is too thin. We all have a natural tendency to think that what we see as average is good. Since the average weight has gone up, a child who was average 10, 20, or 50 years ago may be seen as too thin today. Adults around him may try to fatten him up by pressuring him to eat more.
Look at Children in Old Movies and TV Shows
A fun way to notice your own bias is to look at movies and TV shows from the 1940s or 1050s, when people were of a healthier weight.
Really look at the children in these shows. These children look very thin! But they aren't. This is the healthy weight of a normal child.
Your Child is Probably Not Too Thin
With rare exceptions, if you have a thin child, he is probably not unhealthy. If your child eats healthy food, he is probably getting enough nutrients.
If your child is extremely thin, has lost weight recently, or you think he may have a feeding or eating disorder, check with your doctor.
Don't Feed Thin Children Junk Food to Fatten Them Up
Thin children who eat junk food have a double whammy -- they aren't getting as many calories AND those calories don't contain enough vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other healthy chemicals. Stick to a healthy diet, filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods.
Ignore Weight Charts for Your Thin Child
Weight charts are based on current statistics. That means that as children get fatter, what is considered "underweight" will get higher and higher. If your child is in the 10th percentile for today, he may have been average if he had been born 50 years ago.
The only reason to look at weight charts is to make sure that your child isn't losing percentile points. If he is in the 5th percentile and has been there for years, there is no reason to worry.
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