Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Overweight at 7

Question: I recently took my seven year old daughter for her physical. The doctor informed me that she is about 10 pounds over the curve for her weight and age. I don't want to start putting her on a diet at only 7. She is very active and gets lots of exercise so I tend to think some of her weight issues is hereditary. (She is adopted and comes from a Greek background.) Do you have any advice?

Answer: Nutrition at this age is important for growth and development. Unless your daughter is extremely overweight, what I encourage is maintaining the weight and increasing the activity which would allow her to "catch up" to her ideal body weight, which is in large part determined by genetic factors.

Putting your daughter on a "diet" at this age may cause frustration on her part as well as her parents. You may want to not have available too many calorie dense snacks. Rewarding good behavior with food is something we all do at one time or another. ( I'm guilty too!) Hugs are rich in growth factors and have zero calories!

There are frequent growth spurts, usually every 6 months (all of a sudden, the appetite is increased right before one). Just make sure there is a fairly good balance of all food groups. Unless your daughter definitely is a poor eater, vitamins are optional.

Also see:

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  • My 10 year old daughter is incredibly prone to insect bites. Even when no one else is getting bitten, they seem to go for her! Any suggestions?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.