Early years healthy weight
Establishing a good routine for your toddler, including regular meal and snack times, regular sleep and nap times will help your toddler to maintain a healthy weight. A healthy lifestyle and weight in these early years helps reduce the risks of being overweight during childhood and adulthood.
The developmental stages of a child in their early years are crucial to a child's development and wellbeing for the rest of their life. A child carrying excess weight can affect day to day tasks for them, such as struggling to stand up from sitting, coordination, difficulty sleeping, and behaviour problems relating to high sugar intake. Changing unhealthy habits can be very difficult.
We all want our children to enjoy their childhood, and taking part in activities we hope all children have the opportunities to take part in, such as playing in the park. Being a healthy weight will help a child to enjoy these activities.
A child is regularly measured in their early years at Health Visitor contacts up until the age of 5 years old. From the age of 2 years old, you can calculate your child's body mass index (BMI) using the online calculator. You must enter the date of birth and gender for your child, as it is calculated differently to adults.
You can use the BMI growth charts to plot your child's BMI using the centiles. For more information on using these charts, speak to your GP.
Top Tips for healthy weight in early years
Toddlers should be encouraged to try/eat a range of foods from each food groups and learning about where the food has come from. Keep trying with foods they show any dislike to; research suggests repeating food regularly 13 times will encourage a child accepting the food.
Children should limit their time spent sat down to no more than 2 hours a day. Limiting screen time and having toys available for children will help. Start4Life has ideas on how to encourage your child to sit less and play more
Physical activity guidelines for under 5s include 3 hours of physical activity a day.
Ensuring a child's environment is safe will give your child the opportunity to be more active. The Child accident prevention trust offers advice about child safety in your home.
Evidence shows the link between parental obesity and childhood obesity. Support is available in Wiltshire for adults who want to manage their weight.
What support is available in early years?
Wiltshire's Children's Centres offer a range of courses for parents to learn more about a healthy lifestyle for the whole family, including cooking and parenting courses.
Healthy Start are free vouchers for pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of 4 years old, who are in receipt of benefits or pregnant and under 18 years old. Vouchers are used to spend on healthy foods and vitamins to give your child the best start in life. Speak to your Midwife or Health Visitor for more information.
Encourage your family to walk or cycle when you could avoid using your car, get support to plan a safe route to walk.
To get support on achieving your healthy lifestyle goals you may want to seek support from our Health Trainers. The Health trainer team can offer 6 sessions of one-one support for healthy eating, increasing physical activity, reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking. They will help to build confidence and motivation to enable you to achieve your goals.