My son is the thinnest boy in his play group. His grandmother is always warning me that he’s not healthy. How can I “put some meat on his bones”?

Grandparents always worry about children being too thin. And parents often worry about it too. Children are seldom concerned at all. The truth is that it’s rare for people in this country to be too thin. Overall, the thinner people are the healthier they are and the longer they live.

If children are allowed to eat a low-fat diet of fruits, vegetables, and grains, they will end up looking thinner than the average American child. They will also be healthier than the average child.

What you want to watch closely is your child’s muscle development. If he is getting adequate protein and calories, he will be growing strong muscles. If you stand back five or ten feet and take a good look at a thin child, you’ll realize he looks just like a miniaturized basketball player. He’s got the same body as a jogger who runs ten miles a day to stay in shape.

When judging how thin your child is, consider your family’s gene pool. Generally, lean parents will have lean children and obese parents will have obese children. Usually, overweight parents and children are the result of eating the wrong foods three times a day at meals. If you are not making healthy food choices, your children will reflect the extra weight you are carrying.

Children are natural athletes. Left to their own devices, they will play hard, get enough rest, and eat the right foods in the right amounts. If well-meaning adults will just stay out of their way, they’ll look like athletes throughout their childhood.

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