Is a diet right for your child?

Dr. Alice Madani
Nearly 1 in 3 children in Michigan ages 10-17 are overweight or obese, according to Children who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for chronic diseases as well as social and emotional complications. 

Assessing obesity in children is challenging because children grow in unpredictable spurts. This should only be done by a health care professional, using the child's height and weight relative to his or her previous growth history.

"Parents should not make changes to a child's diet based solely on perceptions of being overweight"Â, said Dr. Alice Madani, pediatrician with McLaren Lapeer Region. "Dieting is not a good approach for most young children, since their bodies are still growing and developing."Â

Help your child maintain a healthy weight by balancing the calories your child consumes from foods and beverages with the calories your child uses through physical activity and normal growth. Remember that the goal for children who are overweight is to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Children should not be placed on a weight reduction diet without the consultation of a health care provider.

If you have concerns that your child is overweight or at risk of becoming so, make an appointment with your child's pediatrician to discuss risk factors and ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle. To make an appointment with Dr. Madani, visit