What can I do if my child is overweight?

If you're concerned about your child's weight there are a number of steps you can take to help them learn how to change their diet and increase their physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A GP or practice nurse can give advice and support on helping your child achieve a healthy weight as they grow. Find out more in When your child is overweight.

Monitoring your child's weight with the Body Mass Index (BMI)

You can keep an eye on your whole family’s weight status using the BMI healthy weight calculator. For children, the calculator assesses their weight status in relation to their height, age and sex. This means that the result – the child’s BMI centile – takes into account how a child is growing for their age and sex.

BMI is the best way to keep track of a child’s weight status and is a measure used by health care professionals such as GPs. Because so many children are now overweight or obese it's not possible to tell if a child is a healthy weight just by looking at them or by comparing them to other children.

Helping your child grow into a healthy weight

While children generally shouldn't need to lose weight, they can achieve a healthy weight as they grow by:

  • changing their diet
  • increasing how much exercise or physical activity they do

Read the answers to more questions about children’s health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 09/10/2012

Next review due: 08/10/2014