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My child is overweight, what should I do?

As parents, you play a very important role when it comes to your child’s wellbeing. Among other things, you can support your child in keeping to their ideal weight. Help them to choose the right foods and encourage them to exercise more. If you set a good example and always encourage your child, you can do something about a couple of extra pounds.

My child is overweight, what should I do?

A healthy weight



BMI girl (G)

BMI boy (B)

Normal weight

BMI girl (G)

BMI boy (B)

2 below 14.3 (G)

below 14.6 (B)

14.3 – 17.9 (G)

14.6 – 18.0 (B)

3 below 13.9 (G)

below 14.1 (B)

13.9 – 17.6 (G)

14.1 – 17.6 (B)

4 below 13.7 (G)

below 13.9 (B)

13.7 – 17.5 (G)

13.9 – 17.5 (B)

5 below 13.6 (G)

below 13.8 (B)

13.6 – 17.7 (G)

13.8 – 17.6 (B)

6 below 13.6 (G)

below 13.8 (B)

13.6 – 18.0 (G)

13.8 – 17.7 (B)



BMI girl (G)

BMI boy (B)

Severely overweight

BMI girl (G)

BMI boy (B)

2 over 17.9 (G)

over 18.0 (B)

over 19.0 (G)

over 19.1 (B)

3 over 17.6 (G)

over 17.6 (B)

over 18.8 (G)

over 18.8 (B)

4 over 17.5 (G)

over 17.5 (B)

over 18.9 (G)

over 18.8 (B)

5 over 17.7 (G)

over 17.6 (B)

over 19.2 (G)

over 19.0 (B)

6 over 18.0 (G)

over 17.7 (B)

over 19.7 (G)

over 19.4 (B)

Source: Guidelines of the German Working Group on Obesity in Children and Adolescents (2002)

Is your child overweight?

Excess weight always occurs when your child regularly takes in more calories from food than they actually use up. This is usually the case when your child eats foods which are high in calories and doesn’t exercise enough. A diet with a high fat content is reflected on the scales. This is because fat contains the most calories of all the nutrients.

Here are some ideas to cut down on fat:

My child is overweight, what should I do?

  • Put a limit on visible fats such as butter, margarine and oil
  • Remove the fatty rind from ham and meat
  • Opt for low-fat dairy products, low-fat cheese and lean meat.
  • Opt for low-fat treats over fatty ones: for instance, pretzel sticks instead of crisps, fruit tarts or sponge cakes instead of cream cakes, instead of ice cream.
  • Mix salad dressings with low-fat yoghurt or milk.
  • Pasta doesn’t always need a high-fat, creamy sauce. Puréed vegetables also taste great as a sauce.
  • Non-stick pans cut down on fat used for browning.
  • As fat is an important flavour enhancer, low-fat meals should be well-seasoned with plenty of fresh herbs, onions, mustard or horseradish for example.

Tip: If you base your eating plan on the Nutrition Pyramid, your child will stay fit, slim and healthy.

My child is overweight, what should I do?

Exercise keeps weight in check

Exercising uses up a lot of the calories (energy) that your child takes in when eating, and the body cannot store used-up energy as fat.

Try doing something your child enjoys. Many active games can be played both indoors and outdoors. What about ball games? Balls and balloons are ideal for throwing, catching, rolling, bouncing, aiming, kicking, juggling and balancing. A mattress encourages rolling about. Tumbling, rolling, skipping, romping and jumping are all fun activities with parents, friends or even alone. Try to offer your child fun alternatives to playing video games and watching television.