To bin this letter and not ring them about DS?

(201 Posts)
Oddthomas Tue 15-Apr-14 13:10:36

Got a letter about 4yo DS today. He was weighed and measured last month at school (yes, it's one of those threads). The letter says he is overweight sad It lists the dangers of being overweight with the line "you are putting your child at risk of..." and finishes with the sentence "to obtain support on what to feed your child please contact..." and the phone number for the nurse who visited the school. Also enclosed was a change 4 life leaflet.

I sat and I read the leaflet and there is nothing in there that we don't already do. He gets at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. He has at least 60 minutes of exercise (usually more as school alone is a 20-30 minute walk each way and he's always in the garden on his trampoline or scooter, rain or shine). He doesn't have fizzy drinks (despite his best efforts to persuade me that all of his friends do) and I don't keep sweets in the house, gets them now and then as a treat, generally when we visit grandparents.

He's always been on the high end of the charts, 95th percentile at birth and stayed there right through his baby and toddlerhood. He's a solid little thing but when he's got his top off I can see ribs and the knobs of his spine, he doesn't have any rolls, has just the one chin, and he's in the appropriate clothing sizes (a mix of 3-4 and 4-5).

Yesterday he ate:
- breakfast: blueberry wheats (like shredded wheat with blueberry filling) in one of the kids bowls with semi-skimmed milk. A banana.
- lunch: cheese and tomato sandwich (one slice of bread, folded over and then cut in two), sliced apple, sliced red and yellow pepper. A seafood stick. Three pieces of tuna and vegetable sushi.
- dinner: chicken and mushroom tagliatelle with broccoli and sweetcorn in a homemade garlic cream sauce (garlic, herbs, low fat creme fraiche).
Drinks: glass of milk with lunch, the rest of the day either plain water or very weak sugar free squash. He has a drinks bottle that we top up as needed so he always has a drink available.
We went to the park in the morning, walked there and back, and to a softplay after dinner.

Today, so far, he has had marmite on toast (two slices from one of those mini-sized 400g loaves), a satsuma, an apple and tuna pinwheels for lunch (tuna in a flour tortilla with mixed leaves, rolled up and sliced). Dinner tonight is going to be Spag Bol, lean steak mince with homemade sauce and hidden veg. We're about to head to the adventure playground for the afternoon.

This is all pretty typical fare. At school he has school dinners. Typical menus include pizza and wedges with carrot sticks followed by cake and custard or breaded chicken pieces (nuggets then?) with potatoes and seasonal vegetables followed by cake and custard. I'm now considering putting him on packed lunch instead!

He seems healthy enough to me, I'm not filling him full of shit and he never sits still and I mean never, he's a fidgeter. My siblings and I were all solid children, when I compared DS to photos of me and my siblings at the same age we all have a similar build, and we all stretched out around about when puberty hit.

AIBU to just bin this letter? Or should I be paying attention to their chart rather than the child in front of me?

Nanny0gg Tue 15-Apr-14 13:12:37

Use your common sense - which you appear to be doing anyway.

And bin the letter.

Rivercam Tue 15-Apr-14 13:14:14

The food sounds healthy to me. Maybe ask a trusted friend what they think. Also, watch portion sizes. I think if he is active, and eats a reasonably healthy diet, and does regular exercise then you should be fine.

TheWhispersOfTheGods Tue 15-Apr-14 13:15:18

Pay attention to your child. Some parents don't see their overweight children as overweight and it is so normal that it can be hard to see. It's just a standard letter they send out

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 15-Apr-14 13:15:55

Bin it. He eats healthily (and kid size portions) and is very active. There wouldn't be a chart if everyone was in the middle.

WorraLiberty Tue 15-Apr-14 13:20:08

Pay attention to your child but proper attention which involves you being 100% honest.

It's very rarely I've heard a parent admit their child is overweight, all too often they just can't see it or they're in denial.

PoundingTheStreets Tue 15-Apr-14 13:22:12

His diet sounds great. It seems like quite a lot of food for a 4-year-old to me, so you might want to look at portion control, but if he's getting a lot of exercise, wearing age-appropriate clothing, and you can see his ribs and vertebrae, I'd say you probably have nothing to worry about.

These letters are like centile charts, BMI and wait-to-hip ratios, etc. They apply quite well when looking at population trends, but they don't always work on an individual basis. I have a waist-to-hip ratio that makes me overweight, for example, yet I have a BMI that's only just above the line separating normal from underweight.

ToFollowJulie Tue 15-Apr-14 13:23:27

Through primary school my DDs had 'fat' phases and 'tall' phases. They have growth spurts and, in hindsight, often seemed 'bigger' before they grew taller. Presumably if your DS grew a couple of inches he'd seem much thinner? I don't think this kind of thing can be taken into account in the measuring process.

If I were you I'd bin the leaflet and carry on doing what you're doing.

adeucalione Tue 15-Apr-14 13:25:27

His diet looks healthy to me but if he is overweight for his height then I don't think you can ignore it.

I can think of two friends with overweight DC who both said that they would 'sort themselves out when they hit puberty/have a growth spurt' and it didn't happen, they're just overweight teenagers now.

I don't think you would need to do much if he is only slightly overweight - fewer pasta dishes or smaller portions maybe.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 15-Apr-14 13:30:21

Something is obviously not working. If you're certain that you're spot on with his diet and levels of exercise, it might be worth a trip to the GP to see if anything is amiss.

Musicaltheatremum Tue 15-Apr-14 13:34:06

What measurements are they basing it on? 95th centile is fine.

HolidayCriminal Tue 15-Apr-14 13:35:11

Weird. he eats a lot less than my lot (small for age, aren't that active).

And no snacks at all? or pudding? How do you manage that?

noblegiraffe Tue 15-Apr-14 13:39:31

My DS is the same age, tall, and what I would think of as skinny, narrow waist, can see his ribs etc.

When he was weighed and measured he was in about the top quarter of the green bit on the BMI chart. I was very surprised that he wasn't in the middle or even below. I can see that it would be very easy to have a child in the overweight category and not be able to see anything wrong with them. I think our view of what constitutes a healthy weight for a child is very off.

I watched Stand By Me the other week, and the kids in that seemed very skinny, but that's probably what a child should look like. I think we're so used to seeing everyone with a bit of padding (not fat, just something between the skin and the bone) that we think that's what kids should be like.

So probably a good time to reassess exercise levels, portion sizes etc, in light of this new piece of information.

Davsmum Tue 15-Apr-14 13:45:44

If your DS does not look fat/overweight then I would take no notice - however, although his diet looks pretty good - keep a check on the portion sizes because even healthy food will pile weight on if there is too much of it.
Also - watch out for things you may 'forget' he has - because they reckon people who are overweight DO forget or do not register some of the things they eat during the day.

Personally - I would go with how he looks and whether he fits into normal clothes for his age/height.

confusedgirlfromtheShire Tue 15-Apr-14 13:45:53

What centile is he on for height?

My boy is nearly the same age and is on the 91st for height and weight, and has been since birth. He's in proportion! Now if you were to say he was more like 25th centile for height and 95th for weight that might be more of an issue.

His diet looks great to me in both quantity and quality though.

Davsmum Tue 15-Apr-14 13:49:14

HolidayCriminal
Snacks and puddings are not necessary - If a child is not used to having them they don't miss them. Many people don't bother with puddings and it i soften 'snacks' that cause the weight problems.

gamerchick Tue 15-Apr-14 13:50:46

Just bin it. You can opt out of all future weigh ins. Neither of mine (who are still at school) have had it done and won't in the future.

Sirzy Tue 15-Apr-14 13:50:55

What measurements are they basing it on? 95th centile is fine.

That depends what centile he is on for height. If he is only on the 50th centile for height that 95th for weight would easily be overweight.

Although the food sounds healthy it does sounds like quite a lot so I would perhaps look at portion sizes?

Sirzy Tue 15-Apr-14 13:52:22

And no snacks at all? or pudding? How do you manage that?

its easy if you don't make it a normal part of life from a young age they don't come to expect it.

DS does have a pudding each night but only because he has a medicine he has to have mixed in a yoghurt. He very rarely snacks though as it has never been a norm for him

specialsubject Tue 15-Apr-14 13:53:28

the only issue with that diet is the solid-sugar cereal - might be best to change that.

apart from that, if there is a problem (and I don't know that) then it will be portions.

AreWeThereYeti Tue 15-Apr-14 13:58:56

His meals seem good. It's lovely to see a kid that's not endlessly given snacks. I didn't regularly give my kids snack even when they were little although they did have times when they had a sandwich or fruit when they got back from school.
I don't see any reason to regularly give kids a mid morning, mid afternoon or late evening snack.
My kids would have treats but not every day (otherwise there not treats!)
My kids also had to ask if they did want something to eat out of meal times. They did this right through to their mid teens.
Now they are at Uni and all have good eating habits mostly wink

If it were me, I would still contact the school nurse, I don't see a reason not to. She is there to help. Also, 'stocky' or 'solid' can still mean overweight, just because a kid doesn't have a roll'y tummy doesn't mean they are not overweight.

Some of my kids were 'solid' at times and I tried to very slowly and subtely watch what they ate. They grew to be big 6'3 plus lads and are nice and slim. My DDs are also nice and slim.

Davsmum Tue 15-Apr-14 14:00:02

All this measurement and centile stuff is so annoying. Anyone with common sense can see by looking whether a child is overweight or not. Why anyone needs a chart baffles me.
You can tell by looking whether a child has fat or muscle too!

I have heard of children who look overweight who do not get these letters and are not classed as overweight. Its ridiculous.

No wonder some parents get stressed and paranoid!

Martorana Tue 15-Apr-14 14:02:37

Is he 95 percentile for height as well?

ACatCalledColin Tue 15-Apr-14 14:04:22

Can I just point out that when it comes to weight (not health) that it doesn't actually matter what you eat. You can eat very healthily but still be overweight simply because you eat too much of the healthy food and are taking in more calories than you need. Likewise you can live off junk food and not be overweight as long as you're not eating more calories than you need. Weight is pretty much all about energy in, energy out.

Obviously the overweight person would still probably be healthier than the thinner person but just because someone eats healthy doesn't mean they can't be overweight. This goes for children and adults.

ImAThrillseekerHoney Tue 15-Apr-14 14:05:12

Unfortunately davsmum there are loads of examples of parents of genuinely overweight children who simply can't see that their children are too fat - whether that's through lack of "common sense" or because they're

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