Obesity - How do I know if my child has a weight problem

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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  • Overweight and obesity in childhood is a serious problem in Australia.
  • Up to 1 in 4 school-aged children in New South Wales are overweight or obese.
  • If you think your child may have a weight problem, then you should take them to be reviewed by your general practitioner (GP) or paediatrician. This will include measuring your child's height and weight and involve keeping a record of this on growth charts.
  • Regular measuring of height and weight by a GP is recommended. This allows them to see any changes in their growth. Finding out where your child is on the growth charts is an important part of health
  • Signs that children may have a weight problem include:
    • If they wear clothes that are much larger than their age (more than 2 sizes above their age)
    • If they are much bigger than the other children in their class at school.
    • If they watch more than 3 hours of television each day.
    • If they eat just as much, or more than, adults in the family
    • If they refuse to eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruit and vegetables.
    • If they eat takeaway food more than twice a week.
    • If they get very puffed when doing physical activity.
    • If they constantly say they are hungry or are always looking for food.
  • If your child has some of these features, it is a good idea to take them to your GP or paediatrician for an assessment.


  • Overweight and obesity is a serious problem in Australia.
  • Early identification and management of overweight and obesity in childhood is more likely to prevent long term weight problems.
  • Parents and carers play a key role in the management of childhood overweight and obesity.
  • If you think that your child may have a weight problem, take them to your local GP or paediatrician for assessment.
  • Don’t wait and think that children will “grow out of it”.


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