As body weight in the United States is gradually increasing, the perception of what is "heavy" is also changing. What may have once been viewed as overweight is now seen as normal or at worst, pudgy. The body mass index (BMI) is calculated by plugging in a person's body weight and height into a formula. Because children have growing bodies, their BMI is tracked on a chart that delineates percentiles that are specific for age and gender.
If there is any question about whether your child may have a weight problem, you can calculate your child's BMI on the CDC web site and see where the child falls on the appropriate BMI chart.
If you find that your child falls in an unhealthy percentile, you can start to take steps to correct this through exercise and proper nutrition. Small changes can make a big difference.