Is a BMI calculator for kids a good tool to determine obesity?

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Many parents worry about the health of their children, especially given that so many youngsters are...

Many parents worry about the health of their children, especially given that so many youngsters are overweight or obese. If you want to make sure your kiddo is at a healthy weight, consider using a BMI calculator. Since age, gender and height are important factors in healthy weight assessment, a BMI calculator for kids will help you evaluate if your child's health is at risk.

What is it?

BMI stands for body mass index. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this calculation is a reliable way to measure a child's body fat because it doesn't just look at the number on a scale. Once you have made the calculation (more on that in a moment), you will want to ascertain where your wee one falls on the range of percentiles. Indeed, this is different from how an adult's BMI is interpreted.

As the CDC notes, a BMI calculation between the 5th and 85th percentile is considered a healthy weight. Below that range a child is considered underweight while above that range, a child is overweight or obese.

How to calculate it

You'll need accurate measurements of your kiddo's weight and height to calculate his BMI. The CDC website has a tool you can use once you have those numbers to input. Or you can visit KidsHealth.org to use their BMI calculator. An Atlanta-area pediatrician will provide the best data for your calculation since, as the reputable children's health site points out, the growth of your offspring is charted at each visit. The doctor can also help you interpret the results and come up with a game plan to help your child get healthy if need be.

What to do with it

If you determine your darling is overweight or obese by using a BMI calculator for kids, it is time to talk to your child's pediatrician about a diet and exercise plan. Don't try to put your child on a diet without talking to a pediatrician first. Kids have unique nutritional needs that don't line up exactly with those of adults. So if you are watching your weight, it is not advisable to simply put your pewee on your plan.

Indeed, your child's BMI is an important number in understanding his weight and overall health. But plenty of factors determine whether he is overweight. KidsHealth.org points out that weight should be looked at as a trend and that something like your little one's frame size impacts whether or not he has an actual weight problem.


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