Many children and teens in the United States today are overweight and at risk for related health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calculations for a child's healthy weight range must take into account the age and height of the individual child.
Healthy Weight Range
A healthy weight range for a child changes with increases in height and with each month of age. Pediatricians regularly weigh and measure each child.
Body Mass Index
The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend using Body Mass Index (BMI), starting at the age of two, to evaluate healthy weight and to screen for possible problems.
What Is Body Mass Index?
BMI uses height and weight measurements to calculate body fat. It does not directly measure body fat, but is a reliable indicator of whether a child is underweight, healthy or overweight.
BMI-for-Age Growth Charts for Children and Teens
BMI-for-age growth charts translate a specific BMI number into a percentile to determine healthy weight ranges for children of a particular age and height. Adult BMI calculators cannot interpret BMI for a child.
BMI-for-age accounts for the natural changes in proportion of body fat as a child’s body develops throughout their lives, as well as key differences in body fat between boys and girls.
Diagnosing Weight Problems
If a child's BMI number is considered too high or too low, further information may be gathered regarding diet, general health, fitness and physical activity.