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Everyone always tells us "she`ll thin out when she starts to crawl/walk/run"

From very early on our now 3 year old daughter has been a big eater and a tubby baby/toddler/preschooler. Everyone always tells us "she`ll thin out when she starts to crawl/walk/run". Well she still hasn`t thinned out! We try to keep meal sizes small, we eat a nutritious and balanced diet and cakes and lollies etc are not a normal part of our family diet, we try to encourage exercise by regularly getting out as a family to swim at the beach, walk in our neighbourhood, play in the park. Both my husband and I are slim, although there are overweight relatives on both sides of the family. There is so much in the media at the moment on obesity in children so we are concerned about this, but what more can we do?

Answer: Hi There, I do understand your concern and it is easy to say that it will sort itself out. Or that your little girl is simply heading towards her predetermined body size, even more likely if she has tracked along the same percentile quite consistently, we are all different. Just because you are a tubby bubba or child doesn`t mean you will be an overweight adult. It sounds like you are doing all the right things and have covered all the areas well, so well done to you, it something that even health professionals can find hard to do. You are right there is a lot of concern about overweight and obesity and while boys are unfortunately getting `fatter` girls haven`t increased in this area (at the last statistics in 2007). But, you will find that there are a combination of lifestyle issues that are attributing to this and it sounds like you have those ruled out. So... I would recommend popping into see a dietitian or nutritionist who can do computerised diet analysis and see for yourself if all is in order. It can be reassuring to know that in fact things are fine. Also a BMI (body mass index) can be done and this can give you further support. To be honest baby fat doesn`t really start to disappear until around 5ish, and by 6 many children have slimmed out, or rather grown up and they then look slim, though they have maintained their growth rate. Three years is still pretty young. I have a tip sheet on weighty issues coming out on Huggies in August so keep your eye out for that in the newsletter (still writing it). I hope that is reassuring. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Jun 2009