Interactive Tool: What Is Your Child's BMI?

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What does this tool help you learn?

This tool calculates your child's body mass index (BMI), which provides a way to estimate the effect of weight on health. This tool provides a printable growth chart so you can find your child's percentile. The percentile is the number that ranks your child's BMI among the BMIs of children of the same gender and age. Taking several BMI measurements over time can help you and your doctor assess your child's growth.

This tool can be used for children ages 2 through 19. Be cautious if you use this tool or any height and weight charts to assess your child's growth after he or she reaches puberty. Check with your doctor if you have questions.

What do the results mean?

After you print a boy or girl growth chart, use the steps that follow to find the percentile. Then keep the chart so that you can track your child's percentile for several years.

  1. Use this tool to find your child's BMI about once a year or as often as your doctor suggests.
  2. Find your child's BMI on the side of the chart.
  3. Find your child's age on the bottom of the chart.
  4. Find the point where BMI and age meet. Your child's percentile will be in one of the shaded areas. Follow the curved line to the right to estimate the percentile.
  5. On your child's growth chart, mark your child's percentile.

The percentile is the number that ranks your child's BMI among the BMIs of children of the same gender and age. For example, if your child is at the 25th percentile, it means that out of 100 children who are the same gender and age, 25 are your child's size or smaller, and 75 are bigger than your child.

Taking several BMI measurements over time can help you and your doctor assess your child's growth. Healthy growth is different for every child, and your child will grow at his or her own pace. If you are concerned about your child's growth, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can check your child to make sure that he or she is growing as expected.

What's next?

Talk with your doctor about what your child's BMI means. Remember that BMI-for-age is just a guide.

For more information, see these topics:

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). Healthy weight—It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! About BMI for children and teens. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html.
  • Dietitians of Canada (2012). Is my child growing well? Questions and answers for parents. Dietitians of Canada. http://www.dietitians.ca/Nutrition-Resources-A-Z/Fact-Sheet-PDFs/DC_ChildGrowParentsE.aspx. Accessed April 3, 2014.
  • Marchand V, et al. (2010, reaffirmed 2014). Promoting optimal monitoring of child growth in Canada: Using the new World Health Organization growth charts. Paediatrics and Child Health, 15(2): 77–79: Also available online: http://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/child-growth-charts#authors.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofOctober 13, 2016