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Health & Nutrition

Is Your Kid Healthy?

All parents worry about their kids’ health at some time or the other. This gets even more pronounced when so-called healthy kids’ parents look down upon your skinny kid and tut-tut his or her appearance.

Is Your Kid Healthy? - Healthy Kids - Measuring Children's Fitness

In our country, this is all the more prevalent where we have terms like khaate-peete ghar ka baccha, which is considered a yardstick of health. Golu- Polu is an endearing term used for someone who has fullness of figure, but haddi passli is someone who is ugly because of being skinny. But is that cherubic looking rotund kid really healthy as compared to your skin-and-bones kid?

I was alarmed too, when one day while changing my daughter’s clothes, I could surface  mark all the bones of her rib cage. I could count them without having to touch them. Why? I asked myself. My daughter has two square meals, a decent breakfast, and fruits and veggies whenever hunger strikes.

How come I could see her bones? Immediately the words “Bad Mother” flashed like a badge in front of my eyes. But then, she seems to be a happy kid otherwise. She doesn’t go out to play with other kids, but I don’t think that has anything to do with her health. At home she skips, jumps and is overall quite active.

Still, my mind at unease, I decided to do some research. I found that BMI is a good indicator of a child’s health. BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is widely used among fitness enthusiasts as a measure of body fat. It is used among pediatricians to determine the overall health quotient of their patients.

BMI charts are found all over the internet. Key in the terms ‘BMI for kids’ and you will have a wide array of options. Beautifully colored charts with percentile system will tell you whether your kid is underweight, healthy or overweight. All that is needed is to accurately measure the height and weight of the child and enter it in the given boxes.

While a kid falling in the fifth percentile is considered underweight, a kid falling between the 5th and  85th percentile is considered to be of normal weight. 85th to 95th percentile accounts for overweight children and over 95th percentile a child is said to be obese.

Is Your Kid Healthy?

The age counts too. A 5 year old kid weighing 20 kgs would probably be considered overweight but a 14 year old boy of the same weight may be completely average.

Is Your Kid Healthy?

When I entered my kid’s statistics in the relevant boxes, I found out that she falls well within the 5th to 85th percentile. I can, therefore, breathe easy knowing that my child is not neglected nutritionally speaking. While I don’t want to wave the BMI flag under the disapproving parents’ noses, it does give me an edge to effectively neglect them now and in future.

My kid is skinny, but healthy. Is your kid healthy too?

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Dr. Gauri Kekre is a clueless, 30-year-old woman, who still has to find her calling in life. A dental surgeon by education, she has almost given it up to be a mommy to her two beautiful girls. She loves to be a ‘jack of all trades’ and dabbles some in writing, cooking and her latest fad, sewing. She writes off and on for her blog Mind Brew and you can find her as @drgaurikekre on twitter (although she seldom uses it). Amongst the things she loves are her mom, her husband, her daughters and people in general.