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Monitoring BMI In Children Today Could Lead To Better Health

In a new study published by the American Heart Association, it is suggested that infants who gain weight rapidly during their first week may be more likely to have weight problems later in life. This study has led to a recommendation to monitor Body Mass Index (BMI) readings in children in an effort to fight obesity through heightened awareness.

According to the American Heart Association, about 15% of children are overweight and obese. This measure is up from 5% in the 1980s. Children measuring in the top 5th percentile of BMI should be considered overweight, however this measure is not necessarily an automatic recommendation for severe diet changes, which may be especially harmful for children. As a child develops further, these measures can change without changes to diet.

Children falling between 80% and 95% are considered "at-risk" and should be monitored further.

As obesity rates continue to rise in the US, studies like these continue to gain in importance. As the child develops, potential health risks may be prevented through early awareness and lifestyle management. How this may impact cardiovascular disease and Type II Diabetes rates will likely require many years to measure.

Of course, all of these recommendations should be factored in with education and support for improved lifestyle and diet. Given the pressures of youth, it is important to not stigmatize a child and foster eating problems and poor self-image where the body mass problems may have been associated more simply with poor, and uneducated, dietary choices and insufficient physical activity.

Dave Saunders is a certified nutritional educator, wellness coach,member of the American International Association of Nutritional Education (AIANE) and author. He is also the host of a weekly, nation-wide telephone lecture on health and nutrition. For additional information, please visit or or email Dave at


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