Here are steps you can take if you're concerned about the weight of your toddler

Should weight issues be taken care of at a young age? And if so, when? Efrat Avrahami, health and natural nutrition consultant, explains everything.

 Illustrative image of children eating vegetables. (photo credit: ZAKI AHMED/PIXABAY )
Illustrative image of children eating vegetables.
(photo credit: ZAKI AHMED/PIXABAY )

When babies become toddlers, they already eat for pleasure, enjoy a variety of foods and have food likes/dislikes. Parents may find themselves troubled by this phenomenon, but is it a cause for concern? 

Should weight issues be taken care of at a young age? And if so, when?

Efrat Avrahami, a certified senior natural health and a nutrition consultant who facilitates workshops and lectures, explained that until age three there isn’t a problem unless the height-to-weight ratio is over 95%, as checked by a doctor or at a child wellness clinic.

She explained that it is important to consider the physical structure of the parents today and how they looked like kids, and to take into account that the parents' tendency to be overweight may also be genetically transmitted to the child, but changing this is definitely possible with the choices parents make.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

 Illustrative image of child eating snack. (credit: PXHERE) Illustrative image of child eating snack. (credit: PXHERE)

Do you offer food as a consolation?

Pay attention to unnecessary snacks, beyond breastfeeding or formula.

Stop the habit of giving food to calm kids down when they are frustrated, angry or sad. It is also important to upkeep the child's movement and activity according to their age.

Don’t make a drastic change to the child's diet. If you’re convinced that there is a problem, consult a nutritionist, as kids need certain nutrients for healthy and proper growth.

What if my child says they are hungry in between meals? 

If your child eats regularly but still complains of being hungry, offer them something small and light and also healthy and nutritious, like fruit or cheese with crackers. If you’re sure that your child is bored or tired but is saying they are hungry, offer up the option that hunger sometimes masks fatigue or distract them if you’re convinced they need activity.

Don't cut snacks

Don’t avoid snacking, but make sure that these are always healthy snacks. 

In general, it is advisable to maintain a healthy and balanced diet for kids of all ages.

If you’re worried that your toddler is overweight but doesn’t have a 95% relationship between height and weight or if there’s no tendency for obesity in the family, you probably have nothing to worry about. Stressed and tense energy around the weight issue can cause the child to develop problems with body image.

Also, remember that the round body of a toddler changes around the age of 4-5 to the body of a child, and then you’ll be less concerned.

This article was written in partnership with the JAMA parenting app.