They probably won’t “grow into it.”

If you buy into the idea that your overweight child may grow into his or her weight, you have to wait until adolescence–possibly until the age of 16 or so for boys–to see if the slimming growth spurt appears before taking action. Your child will go through middle school and high school overweight or obese. They may experience teasing, social isolation, and will certainly find it harder to participate in sports because of their weight.

So what does the research science actually show?   It shows clearly that overweight and obesity among children is more and more common, and that most overweight children will become overweight adults. Time article. CDC Page.  So the odds are that even if some kids will grow into their weight, yours won’t.

And if they don’t, then they are at risk for all the chronic diseases associated with overweight and obesity.

Don’t let the small possibility that growth will outpace weight gain for your child prevent you from taking action now.

My daughter’s weight explosion

My daughter went from a low normal Body Mass Index of 25th percentile to above the 95th percentile (considered clinically obese) in about one year from the age of 3 and a half to 4 and a half.  I spent more and more time and energy over the next eight and a half years trying to help her slim down, ultimately enrolling us both in a pediatric weight control program at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.  Our experience in that program convinced me there had to be something else going on with Juliana than just that she ate more calories than she burned.  And I was right.