Is My Child Obese?

As I sit down on Sunday evening and watch my daughter dance around the lounge whilst dancing on ice is on the TV, I wonder how the Doctors could’ve said she is border line obese…

I’m Lisa, mum of Kyla, my gorgeous six year old. A few weekends ago I took Kyla for an eye test and what I thought was going to be a routine appointment ended up with her in hospital having a CT scan – she is fine and that’s a story for another time. The reason I share this is because while we were at the hospital the nurses carried out some routine health checks, they measured Kyla’s height and we were told she is below average, not a total shock, as I’m not very tall.

They also weighed her and that is when I was faced with something I wasn’t expecting. “Kyla weighs the same as an average 8 year old” I was told “She is border line obese…” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… obese, really… my little Kyla? I knew she wasn’t a skinny girl, but she’s active and eats healthily and I would never have thought she was obese. In fact I was more worried about whether she would start to get body conscious at a young age and start talking about dieting – anorexia is becoming more common in young girls and  as someone who has always been a bit body conscious, that was on my mind more than her being obese!

On hearing that Kyla was overweight I started to analyse what we feed her and how much exercise she does do – she goes to gymnastics once a week, swimming once a week, she does PE at school twice a week, cycling at the weekend (weather permitting) and as extras, I put on the YogaBugs DVD or ‘Just Dance’ on the Wii or we get the yoga mat out and do some exercises together.

I am an active person and I make sure she gets her 5 hours of exercise a week.

So how is her diet? On a typical day she has cereal (and not the chocolate or sugary kind!) with fruit in the morning, for lunch she takes in a ham sandwich, a piece of fruit, a yoghurt, and some tomatoes and carrots, in the evening we’ll cook something like fish, potatoes and vegetables or spaghetti bolognaise, she sometimes has a small dessert or just a biscuit with her milk….we don’t go to McDonalds or KFC, we don’t have crisps in the house, we’re don’t eat very much  junk food, but she may have some sweets at the weekends as a treat…  so I have decided to cut that down.

I work full time for YogaBugs, I understand the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, we talk about it all the time, we promote it and yet somehow, whether I think my daughter is overweight or not, I have been faced with the fact she weighs the same as an average 8 year old and I feel like I have let her down.

So what do I think about the statistics? Does ‘average’ take into account genes, body shape, growing up? I look at Kyla and I compare her other children at school, does she look ‘fat’ compared to the other children? I look…and they all look different shapes and sizes and I wonder what ‘average’ is.

Do I think Kyla is border line obese? No, I don’t and I am happy with what she eats how much she exercises, yet I can’t ignore the facts that were presented to me that compared to the ‘average’ 6 year old she is overweight….