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Is Your Child Overweight? Time to Learn New Habits!

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Determining if a Child is Overweight

Overall, 17% of the total U.S.children and adolescent population, around 12.5 million total, are obese2, meaning that they have a Body Mass Index (a measurement that compares weight and height3) of 30 or higher.  That translates to having a body weight that is at least 30 pounds heavier than a child or adolescent should be.4

Steps need to be taken to try to reduce the threats from this epidemic before our children have to deal with ongoing diseases like heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and hypertension.

Before anything can be done for children, we first need to know whether our children are overweight or not.

What Exactly is BMI and How Is It Calculated?

The key to learning if your child is overweight or not requires knowing his or her BMI calculation.  In order to find this out, you must know what his or her height and weight is because the BMI is a number that is calculated from one’s height and weight.  The BMI gives you a reliable indicator body fat for most people0 and enables you to learn what weight category you fall in and whether that can lead to any potential health problems.5

There are many websites, including the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that will be able to calculate your child’s BMI after you have input his or her height and weight.  Once you have learned what your child’s BMI is, you will learn what BMI percentile he or she is in.

BMI Percentiles

A BMI percentile uses the CDC BMI-for-age growth chart determinea the percentile that your child falls into.  The BMI percentile is the most commonly used indicator to determine the growth and size patterns of children in the United States.The percentile helps to determine where your child falls in terms of his or her BMI in comparison to other children that are of the same sex and age as your child.

Weight Status Categories

There are four weight status categories to determine the relative health of your child based on his or her BMI6:

  • Underweight – Lower than the 5th percentile
  • Healthy weight – In between the 5th percentile up to the 85th percentile
  • Overweight – In between the 85th percentile up to the 95th percentile
  • Obese – In between the 95th percentile to the 100th percentile

BMI is Not the End-All For Determining If Your Child is Overweight or Not

While BMI can certainly help to identify a possible weight problem with your child, it is not the only measurement that needs to be calculated in order to be sure.  To determine if your child has excess fat, your health care provider would need to perform additional tests, including those that take into account your child’s physical activity level, your overall family history in regards to obesity, your child’s diet, and the thickness of your child’s skin.6

How BMI Calculations Differ Between Children and Adults

It’s important for you to use a BMI calculator that is specifically tailored towards children.  That is because the BMI calculators for children take into account the amount of body fat that changes with age and the amount of body fat differences between boys and girls.  This is because healthy weight ranges for children vary considerably as they grow older and whether they are male or female.  Adult BMI calculators only use categories that are not based on sex or age.

By Determining Your Child Is Overweight Early, You Can Help Him Or Her To Become Healthier Sooner In Life

The sooner you can establish that your child is overweight, the sooner you can address the causes of why your child is overweight and take the necessary steps to address those causes to improve your child’s quality of life and improve the chances that he or she can avoid such deadly diseases and conditions as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension.

Instilling positive eating and exercise habits early on will help your child to lose excess weight and enable him or her to keep it off more easily throughout his or her life.  By addressing potential weight issues now, we can help to turn around the weight epidemic hitting our children so that future American generations do not have to deal with the aforementioned deadly diseases and conditions and can live healthier, more enjoyable lives.

References

1 Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Defining | DNPAO | CDC. (2010, June 21). From The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/obesity/defining.html

5 Healthy Weight: Assessing Your Weight: Body Mass Index (BMI) | DNPAO | CDC. (2011, August 17). From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/

6 Healthy Weight: Assessing Your Weight: BMI: About BMI for Children and Teens | DNPAO | CDC. (2011, June 2). From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html

DISCLAIMER

The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.