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Body Weight / Fitness

Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Body Weight / Fitness
By Caroline on Friday, July 1, 2005 - 11:55 am:

My 5 1/2 year-old daughter measures 108cm and weighs 20 kilos. Her kindergarten teacher told me that she was a little on the plump side. Is this accurate? She does eat more these days but I just thought this was part of the growing process. Also, both me and my husband are foreigners and have a very different body type from the standard Japanese. We have very healthy eating habits so I am not too concerned about nutrition. But she might not be getting enough exercise and perhaps that is what her teacher was trying to convey with his comment (not sure though). I would love to hear comments from others with a similar experience.

By Bethan Hutton on Friday, July 1, 2005 - 1:55 pm:

I have two kids who are huge by Japanese standards (tall and well-built, but not fat - they're both on the 95th percentile line for height and weight, which makes them the same height as most Japanese kids two years older, and a bit more solid-looking), but have never had anything said to me by kindergartens or nurseries, or indeed by Japanese doctors, except comments along the lines of "aren't they big and healthy!".

I think most sensible people here would realise that body types and averages are different for Westerners. And there is no way you should be trying to put a five year old on a diet unless she were grossly obese, which she obviously is not.

I just had a look at a height/weight table in a UK childcare book, and from what I can see your daughter sounds perfectly normal by western standards - 108cm looks like average to slightly below average height for a 5.5 year old girl, and 20kg is average to slightly above average - well within all the "normal" shaded areas on the graph.

I often find that my kids seem to get huge appetites for a few weeks, get a bit chubbier, then suddenly put on an upwards growth spurt.

More exercise can't hurt, of course, and if you're really worried why don't you go and see one of the Western doctors here who will be more aware of what's normal and what's not? I don't think a kindergarten teacher is anyone's idea of an expert on this subject.

By Cornelia on Sunday, July 3, 2005 - 8:11 am:

Dear Caroline, My daughter has been getting "chubby" and then shooting up and then getting "chubby" and then shooting up... for about 2 years now. Before that she was rail thin. We have just arrived here in the USA for summer holidays, and she looks thinner than about (rough estimate) 85% of the kids here. I suspect that your kindergarten teacher is just making an offhand comment based on her experience in her classroom without any special medical support. I wouldn't take it very seriously and I definitely wouldn't bother getting upset by it. Just make sure she has plenty of opportunity for physical exercise if she is so inclined! We have just decided to switch from gymnastics to kids aerobics starting September because my daughter really wants more music and dance than standing in line waiting to do flips on the bar.

By Yuko Kubota on Sunday, July 3, 2005 - 9:55 am:

Hi Caroline,

Did you ask the teacher why he said so? I am assuming he was judging from the official Japanese height and weight chart, and if so, he probably has the mere duty to inform parents.

However, according to the chart my now 13 year old son used to use, for a girl of 5.5 yrs old, 108cm is absolutely average while 20kg is towards the heavier edge WITHIN the tolerable range. Yes, this means that, although she is on the chubby "side" (in Japanese standards, that is) she is well enough healthy.

My son's weight always walked right on top of the "could be too thin" edge line and yet he was always alive and kicking (literally!).

I think you can just keep up what you're doing now. But as you seemed to have noticed, this is a good chance to look back on your child's health condition. Of course, excercise is always important for children, and you can always ask her teacher what she might be lacking or might not be lacking in her daily life at her kindergarten.

Btw, the very funny thing about my son is that he looks chubby but weighs little. I wonder if he is made of air?? At least I know he is not made of muscles. Anyway, that's how you look at numbers and charts, I suppose.

By Linda Gondo on Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 9:00 am:


My daughter recently had her yearly health check at the child health care center in Kodomo no Shiro. My daughter is a little heavy compared to her Japanese classmates (19.2 kg and 103cm and proportionally heavier than your daughter). She is big boned and does not look overweight so I have not been too worried, although I have been monitoring her weight. At the heath check I was told that although she was on the heavier side of the graph she was still within the healthy range and perfectly fine.

By Willhemina Wahlin on Sunday, March 12, 2006 - 7:45 pm:

Does anyone know if there is a gym in the edogawa ku area (I'm in Nishi Kasai) that has a craiche or child minding of some kind (like a parent/ kid class?).


By Steve K on Friday, March 17, 2006 - 3:15 pm:

I used to have a membership to XAX in Funabori. They have a fairly extensive selection of kids programs. See for details. Though I didn't know it at the time, their programs seem similar to the Tumbling Tots programs.

XAX is now part of the Konami Sports Club chain, which has facilities in Nishi-Kasai--one of which is called "Konami Sports Junior School". I don't know anything about them, though. See for details.

By Dorothyfox on Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 8:31 pm:

Well you should not get bothered by the teachers comments. You follow a healthy diet and that is a good sign. So your kid will definitely be healthy.

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