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Thursday, September 1, 2016
Obesity and Weight Management
MY 7 YEAR OLD IS VERY SKINNY EVERYWHERE ON HER BODY BUT HER BELLY IT IS BIG AND VERY EXTENDED, HER PCP SAYS IT IS NORMAL AND HAS NO CONCERN OR RUN ANY TEST THIS SEEMS STRANGE TO ME. AND SUGGESTION WHERE I CAN LOOK FOR HELP OR FIND MORE INFO. THANK
The following are common reasons for a large belly and sway back posture in an otherwise healthy child:
- Large Liver: A large belly in younger children is often due to the fact that the liver is a full adult-size but is inside of a child-sized belly. Their bodies will have to "grow up" around the liver.
- Weak Stomach Muscles: Young children are also just beginning to develop enough muscle strength to support the body upright against gravity. Throwing the hips (and belly) forward is one way to stay upright until the muscles around the spine fully adapt to this position. You'll notice that by age nine or 10, most children have "outgrown" the postures you have pointed out.
The best way to approach your concern is to encourage physical activity of all kinds. For example, climbing is a favorite activity of young children and for good reason. The movements required during climbing strengthen arms, legs, trunk, and abdomen. The trunk and abdominal muscles stabilize the spine. When the spine is stabilized, the stomach becomes more flat and the lower back is less 'sway back'.
Regular checkups by your child's pediatrician are important to assure that no other health problems are contributing to the development of a large belly.
Jennifer Shine Dyer, MD, MPH
Former Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University