First of all, what is really overweight for a child? Personally, I loathe height/weight charts for ANYONE. I don't believe we need a chart to tell us how we feel, if we're healthy, if we're thin enough or even heavy enough. There's no template for the perfect body. We're all different. Sitting at Panera Bread Company this weekend, I found myself people watching and was hit by a silly notion. The average person has two legs, two arms, a torso, two eyes, two ears, a nose a mouth, and two feet. We basically all have the same parts. And yet, there are so many variations that the sum of those parts can come up with. You'd think that there would be a finite number of body types and that we would all have to fall into one category. But amazingly, if you putt 100 women with a "pear shape" body type in a room; they'd all look different. They may have similar body types, but they would look noticeably different from each other.
So, being that we're all so different; how can we possibly think that a chart (however scientifically formulated) could tell us what our body is supposed to look like or weigh? NOW, throw a child into that. A child who is still growing, approaching puberty, possibly in the middle of puberty, and going through incredible body changes. How in the world can we accurately say that many of these children are overweight? Is there really a weight that they SHOULD (don't you just hate that word?) weigh? I say, we really can't.
In fact, I don't think the problem is weight or body size at all; and I believe this to be the case even for adults. The excess weight is a symptom, NOT a diagnosis. The issue is inactivity and overeating nutrition starved food. So when dealing with a child and weight, do we really want to start talking numbers to them? Do we really want to focus their attention on the scale? How've we, as adults, done with that? Are American adults getting any thinner or are we tipping the dreaded scales more than ever before?
The solution then, is to get our kids MOVING daily and EATING well at least 80% of the time. Forget the weight, that will take care of itself. Don't even mention weight to them and for goodness sakes, please don't suggest to your child that they are getting too heavy. You may as just get them a gift certificate to the "Self Loathing and Low Self Esteem" store. They are not too heavy. But they may be too inactive. They may be making wrong food choices. THAT'S where the answer lies. Even mentioning their weight to them is far more dangerous to them than that actual weight. And here's why, it will be easier for our children to get active and shed pounds than it will be for them to overcome a negative self image once that seed has been planted. Ideas about ourselves formed in our brains are harder to lose than inches formed on our hips.