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A physical exam will help show if your son is gaining weight in preparation for a growth spurt


how your child is grow- ing. Many factors need to be considered when determining if a child is overweight, including genetics, developmental infl uences and environ- mental infl uences. Kids grow at diff erent rates, so a careful physical examination will help determine if your son is gaining weight in prepara- tion for a growth spurt into puberty. Continuous weight gain is important in growing children, and there may be spurts of growth in height where they tend to thin out fol- lowed by spurts in weight


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as they prepare for the next height surge. Your health care provider will be able to help you sort out these growing patterns. You will be asked about


your son’s diet, an impor- tant topic. You can keep a journal or a record of the foods that your child eats to bring to the evaluation. Writing down the type of food and how much he eats will help. Be sure to include what he drinks. Juices and sports drinks contain extra calories, and drinking water instead is better for your son’s body and overall growth right now. Keeping track of


when and where he eats and drinks also will help develop a plan of action. If your child eats in front of the television or computer, a simple change might be to have family dinners at the table — where discussions about the day’s activities take place and portion sizes are noted. Another important


part of the history is telling your health care provider which physical activities your son partici- pates in. T e amount of time he spends on physical activity — especially outdoors — matters. Ask your son what he does at


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