CDC Table for Calculated Body Mass Index Values for Selected Heights and Weights for Ages 2 to 20 Years

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The Body Mass Index (BMI) tables represent the calculations of body fat for children aged 2 years old to 20 years old. Unlike the adult BMI table, the children’s growth charts accommodate a growing child ranging in height from 29 inches to 78 inches and 18 pounds to 250 pounds. The calculation is the same for children as it is for adults in that weight in pounds is divided by height in inches and that answer is divided by height in inches multiplied by a conversion factor of 703.

There are numerous charts and the full set can be found at  www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/00binaries/bmi-tables.pdf. Additional tables are available for heights up to 66” to 78” and 216 pounds to 250 pounds on the Centers for Disease Control website. The following tables represent a sample of the charts. Various heights are listed in the first column with weights listed across the top. To find the appropriate table for your child, first locate the chart that contains the child’s height and weight by referring to the ranges provided in the upper right hand corner of the chart. To find a child’s BMI, just locate the point where height and weight intersect.

In the tables, the weight increments change from one-half pound for weights less than 60 pounds to one pound for weights over 60 pounds and up to 112 pounds. Beyond 112 pounds, the weight increments are two pounds. The chart weights top out at 250 pounds.

The BMI calculation is then used to determine where the child fits on the BMI-for age percentile for males or females. The percentile charts can also be found on the website for the Centers for Disease Control. The BMI calculation for children is age and sex specific because body fat changes as a child grows and body fat composition is different for girls and boys. The BMI for children is often referred to as BMI-for-age because of this. The general guidelines are that a child who is less than the 5th percentile is underweight. A child who falls in between the 5th percentile and the 85th percentile has a healthy weight. A child in the 85th to 95th percentile is overweight. A child who is equal to or greater than the 95th percentile is obese.

Child obesity rates are growing and this puts children at a much higher risk of developing diseases in adulthood.  It is a little more difficult to track a child’s BMI only because a child’s weight and height change from month to month. However, it is just as important for children to maintain a healthy weight as it is for adults. The BMI charts for children are just tools for determining the ideal weight for any child.






Additional tables are available for heights up to 66” to 78” and 216 pounds to 250 pounds at: www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/00binaries/bmi-tables.pdf


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