BMI is measured by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of that person’s height in meters.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that being overweight or obese is abnormal, as it indicates excessive fat accumulation which may impair health. According to WHO:
- BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
- BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity
Some of the reasons why your baby may be obese or overweight:
- A baby can be born overweight owing to his genes, as the height and weight of the parents reflect in the child.
- For a baby who is more than 8-9 months old, obesity occurs when the parents try to feed the child in excess, without maintaining a proper gap between each meal.
- For toddlers, lack of physical activity can be a reason for obesity.
If the BMI of your baby indicates that your baby is fine, you should not be aggressively feeding your child. Force feeding your baby may increase his risk of becoming obese. It is advised that gaps are maintained between two meals.
According to Dr Sakeena Samar, Pediatric Nutritionist at Santosh Hospital, Bengaluru, “obesity is like an epidemic now-a-days. Babies who are obese become prone to hypertension later on in life, develop insulin resistance and diabetes”. Children in the age group of 2-3 years need to be encouraged by their parents to engage more and more in physical activities.
Here are some reasons why your baby is underweight:
- Genes play an important role when it comes to the height and weight of a child
- If your baby is a fussy eater, then he/she may tend to be underweight
- Babies suffering from some birth defects or illness could be underweight
- If your baby is suffering from food allergies or lactose intolerance, he/she is likely to be deprived of nutrition, resulting in him/her being underweight
For a baby who is underweight, parents can adopt a special nutritive diet till the baby reaches the ideal weight, after consulting the pediatrician. For toddlers, parents can opt for protein-rich food like chicken, egg, dairy products, pulses and cereals.