A skinny child is not necessarily more healthy than a heavyset child, according to researchers. BMI (Body Mass Index) is not always the best indicator of health in children.
Children need to move and get plenty of fresh air in order for their lungs and muscles to develop properly. A child cooped up inside all day long may appear to be at a normal weight, but could be incorporating actions and behaviors that could lead to such things as heart disease and diabetes later in life.
Weight alone is not the be-all and end-all of the health index. Other factors must be considered, especially in children.
Carl Lavie, MD, medical supervisor of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, explains that young bodies need constant aerobic exercise in order to develop proper muscle and joint strength. People who are physically unfit can be thin, as well as fat. Lavie says a program of physical fitness, supervised by an adult and or expert, is crucial to a child’s future well-being.
Lavie was one of the first to discover and expound the “Obesity Paradox”, that found that overweight people sometimes live longer and have better health than someone with normal weight.
“If you just look at weight alone, it can be very misleading,” Lavie claims. “Weight is both fat and muscle. You can have somebody who is normal weight but they don’t have any muscle and they’re all fat. On the other hand, you [can] have someone who has pretty high weight and BMI and they’re low fat — like a middle linebacker in the NFL who is huge, but solid muscle.”