In August 2003 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement stating that BMI (Body Mass Index) will serve as the primary diagnostic tool for pediatricians to define childhood overweight and obesity. Unfortunately, recent consumer surveys indicate that as many as 7 out of 10 people do not know BMI is a measure of body fatness, and even more people do not know there is difference in the way it is calculated for adults and children.
The BMI index is an especially useful tool for children and teens because their rate of growth and development can be monitored over a period of time, and it can be used to track body size throughout their life.
In children, teens, and adults body mass index is used to assess underweight, overweight, and obesity. Measuring BMI in adults is a number derived by a simple formula. For children, calculating BMI is more complex. Children’s body fatness changes over the years as they grow. Also, girls and boys differ in their body fatness as they mature. Therefore, age, gender, weight and height are key factors. To determine a child’s BMI, it is easiest to use a BMI calculator that is designed for kids.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a very easy to use online calculator. Before going to the site, you will need to know your child’s age, height and weight. The calculator will provide you with an instant result. Make sure you read the whole page, because it provides you with an easy way to track your child’s BMI as they grow. If you have specific questions about your child’s results, we suggest that you contact your pediatrician.