When It Isn't Just Baby Fat
It's easy to write off an overweight toddler as “solid,” or having “just a little baby fat.” Fortunately, if your child gets routine checkups as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, your doctor should be able to detect any early weight problems or indications that your child is at risk for being overweight. Because excess weight can also be a sign of a hormonal problem or another medical condition, it's important that you don't ignore it. Book an appointment with the pediatrician even if your child's next scheduled doctor's visit isn't for several months.
Your child's doctor will not use BMI-for-age charting if your child is under age two. Instead, he will use a length-for-age and weight-for-length chart to assess growth. If your child exceeds the 95th percentile in weight for length, or her weight has suddenly increased significantly with no corresponding growth in height, she may be overweight or at risk for weight problems.
From age two, BMI gradually declines until sometime between the ages of four and six, when it begins to climb again. Called “adiposity rebound,” this effect is a result of increased activity in your child. A child whose BMI starts to increase before age four may be at risk for being overweight. Chapter 3 has more information on calculating body mass index (BMI).