BMI, or Body Mass Index, is just a fancy way of telling you how much fat there is in your body. If your child’s BMI is high, they’re not only at a higher risk of developing serious health problems, they’re also going to have a harder time getting around, staying active, and just being kids.
To calculate your child’s BMI, you simply need to know their weight in kilograms and their height in meters. To avoid messy calculations, you can just find a BMI calculator online to do the math for you.
For adults, a healthy BMI is always in the same range, no matter what your age or sex. For children, a healthy BMI range depends the age and sex of the child. It not only varies from year to year, but also from month to month. Adult BMI range can only be used for people aged twenty and over, so even if you child is in high school or even graduated, you should still not be using accepted adult ranges.
The easiest way to find out if your child’s BMI is at a healthy level, is to check it with standardized charts. Basically, your child’s BMI is put on a graph and compared to the BMI of other children of the same age and sex. If BMI level is in the bottom 5th percentile, your child is considered underweight. If they are in the 5th to 85th percentile, your child is of healthy weight. If they are between the 85th and 95th percentile they are considered overweight, and if they are above the 95th percentile, they are considered obese.
If your child’s BMI is too high, you should consult your child’s doctor and set up a diet and exercise plan for your child. Just as in adults, having a BMI that is too high can lead to serious health problems in the distant and not so distant future. If the percentage of fat in your child’s body is too high, they are at risk of developing weight-related problems at a very young age, like type 2 diabetes. Often, small changes will help put your child on the road to a healthy lifestyle.
Most people are only concerned with their child’s BMI if their child is overweight, but calculating BMI can tell you if your child is underweight as well. Being underweight can be just as unhealthy for a child or teen as being overweight. It can also be an indicator that your son or daughter has an eating disorder (yes, sons can have eating disorders, too!). These are serious conditions and you should seek treatment for your child if you suspect a problem.
Your child’s health is important. While there are other tests a doctor may do to determine if your child is in a healthy weight range or at a higher risk of getting health problems, calculating their BMI is a quick and easy way for you to keep track of your child’s weight and general health.