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Pediatrics/My child is overweight yet eats healthy and exercises


I have noticed that my 9 year old daughter has been gaining weight, today she had a doctor's appointment for an unrelated reason and I found out that she has gained 9 lbs in the past 6 months and has a bmi in the 87th percentile. We do not keep junk food in the house, no sodas or juice, rarely eat fast food, and when we do get the fruit cup instead of fries.  She also takes dance classes 4 nights a week.  No one in our family is overweight.  I don't understand how this could have happened and am not sure what to do, because she eats about as well as could realistically be expected.  She has always been in the upper end of the healthy weight range.  Is it possible that she is just a naturally overweight person?

Hi, Amber,

When assessing weight we look at the big picture.  How big are parents?  Big parents tend to have big kids that have trouble staying at an optimal weight.  Activity in general decreases in the colder months, at least in the North, and this may have some bearing.  It sometimes is reasonable to check a thyroid function test, especially if the child is short and overweight.  

If all pans out as normal, then I would carefully look at snacks, be sure they are healthy, look at portion size, etc.  Some people can have higher BMI, especially an athletic type, and be completely normal.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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