How to use BMI to asses your child's weight

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How to use BMI to asses your child's weight

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The assessment of overweight and obesity in children is actually quite technical. The way it's done is on BMI charts for children between the ages of two and twenty. And there are actually two charts. There is a pink chart for girls and there is a blue chart for boys. And as an example let's just consider a child, a boy who is nine years and three months of age, and his BMI is 19.0. By the way the BMI is calculated. It is a calculation that has to be done, it relates to the weight to the height, or to the square of height. So you get a number that ranges anywhere from two to let's say 30. Now lets say this boy has a BMI of 19.0. See you draw a line from the age and the BMI and where that intersection point occurs is where... is the percentile of that child. So in this case the child is just above the 85th percentile. Which means that he is categorized as overweight, because overweight is defined as a BMI that falls between the 85th and the 95th percentile. That's the definition of the overweight. Obesity is anything from the 95th percentile and above. That's the definition of obesity in children. So there are two charts one for boys, one for girls. They are two different colors, don't get them confused. I am not asking parents to make this calculations or to use these charts, but their child health care professional should be using these charts. So if you go to see your child health care professional and they and you ask to see the growth chart, and they don't produce one for you, you have to find out why.

See Barbara J. Moore, PhD's video on How to use BMI to asses your child's weight...

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Barbara J. Moore, PhD

President, Shape Up America!

Barbara J. Moore, PhD is president and CEO of Shape Up America!, a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. The mission of SUA is to raise awareness of obesity as a health issue through its award-winning website, Shapeup.org  and other communication channels.  Considered a leading authority on obesity in the United States, Dr. Moore served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children in Youth, which produced the landmark 2005 report Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. Moore received her PhD in nutritional science from Columbia University. Her postdoctoral training in nutrition and physiology was at the University of California at Davis. She held an academic position at Rutgers University and also served in industry as General Manager of Program Development at Weight Watchers International.  She held several federal government positions at the White House and the National Institutes of Health before joining Shape Up America! in 1995. She holds a BA from Skidmore College and an MS in nutrition from Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition. 

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