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My daughter has a tummy that sticks out. She is taller than most kids in her class, even the boys. My Wife is 5'9 and I am 6'0. We have tall family members as well. However, she constantly seems to have what you may call a 'toddler belly'. She is in the upper percentiles in weight and height. We don't feed her junk. However, if she has a Sprite (soda), then her tummy does get bigger. We try to keep her active as much as possible and she is involved in minor athletics such as cheerleading.

Is it normal to have this belly sticking out? Will it ever go down?

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How old is she? – Swati Jul 27 '11 at 13:06
@Swati: 5 and half. – Brian Jul 27 '11 at 13:07
Please don't fat-shame five-year-olds. Please don't fat-shame anyone. – TRiG Jan 28 '12 at 17:07
You should not be giving a child soda! Water, milk, or diluted fruit juice (one part juice to ten parts water). Soda has high sugar content which is bad for teeth and increases risk of diabetes. – DanBeale May 16 '14 at 17:56
@Dan: she is 8 and half now. Her dentist said only water and milk – Brian May 16 '14 at 19:01

When it comes to your kids the worse thing you can do is focus on their physical appearance, shape, or her stomach in this situation. You only need to care healthy diet, healthy eating habits, healthy snacks, and being active as much as possible. Everything else will take care of itself.

Remember your building habits so make it normal for meals to be health and snacks to be health. Avoid soda, and sugary crap. Teach her to stop eating when she is full (none of this finish your plate crap) and to eat when she is hungry. Get her to drink water as the goto thing whenever she is thirsty. Make the sprite a special snack.

Edit: It's very normal and it will probably go away and I wouldn't worry about it personally.

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@Beofett: Your 100% correct I have updated my answer. – Ominus Aug 18 '11 at 17:28
Thanks for the edit! – Beofett Aug 18 '11 at 17:32

I understand she's more than reasonably active, so I'd say "wait and see"; many kids have a big tummy, but it usually goes away before school starts unless there are other factors involved.

You say she's near the top of the weight chart. Does that measure body weight vs. body size, or vs. age?

  • If vs. age then it would fit with being near the top of the growth chart; obviously tall people have more mass than short people.
  • If vs. body size then it means her BMI is high, but that doesn't have to be a sign of anything wrong or bad. Are you worried about this being a sign of obesity? Have you discussed this with the pediatrician, and what did he say?
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I mean, it's possible it's just baby weight, too, right? My brother didn't lose his belly until he was a teenager, and my body mass altered when I was a teenager. I was "soft" throughout my childhood, and I was reasonably active. – Aarthi Jul 27 '11 at 13:29
The weight and height charts measure her at 95/96 percentile for both height and weight. So basically she is up there on the weight for her age and up there on the height for her age. Many people mistake her for a first grader. – Brian Jul 27 '11 at 13:34
So she has a high BMI - some people do, and it doesn't have to be a problem, just as Aarthi corroborates. if she's otherwise fine, then that's just how she is. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jul 27 '11 at 14:03
Agreed! And, to add my two cents, both my brother and I were heavier-set kids growing up. Small Sibling, especially, was "softer" for most of his childhood. When he turned 15, he grew a foot in a summer and gained a bunch of muscle tone. shrug OP, just be sure you teach your daughter good eating and exercise habits and the rest will work itself out. – Aarthi Jul 27 '11 at 16:01
Also, Babycenter has a thread with numerous other parents expressing concern about the same thing. It seems to be a sign that she'll have a growth spurt soon. – Aarthi Jul 27 '11 at 16:07

Couldn't it also be an indicator of some kind of digestive issue? Have you consulted your pediatrician?

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Also are you sure she's not eating things like crayons, play-dough, stuffed animal stuffing, paper, etc when you're not looking? – Christine Gordon Nov 1 '12 at 22:19
Uhm, yes. No crayon/play dough eating. She is 6 now and has mostly grown out it. – Brian Nov 19 '12 at 20:11

The weight charts are an awful tool. They are a variant of BMI which has probably done far more harm than good in the effort to reduce obesity. Two girls (or boys) can have the same height, but if you measure across their shoulders, their skeletons are clearly different. One may be 50% wider than the other. The BMI numbers will be far different for these two kids who are the same fitness, yet the 'wide' one will measure as overweight even if she has no belly, and is all muscle.

The charts used for kids are as bad as BMI,making no adjustment for body type /frame width.

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BMI is a useful public health tool when used correctly. – DanBeale May 16 '14 at 17:58
Can you give an example of correct usage? Are there cases where one is having an issue that's otherwise hidden and BMI reveals a cause for concern? – JoeTaxpayer May 16 '14 at 18:05

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