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Body Mass Index (BMI)

Last Updated: 12/06/2010


  What Is BMI?

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a way of checking to see if your child has a healthy weight. The results of the screening compare your child's height and weight to other children of the same age and sex. The results are given as a "percentile." The percentile shows how a child's BMI compares to others of the same age and sex. In general, the higher the BMI, the more fat there is in the body.

Read freuquently asked questions about your child's BMI by reviewing the following questions:

Your Child's BMI
The formula for and guidelines on children's BMI are different from the formula and guidelines for adults.

To calculate your child's BMI, begin by weighing your child on an accurate scale and measuring your child's current height. The CDC provides guidelines on how to weigh and measure your child accurately. Next, do the following steps:

  • Convert your child's height to inches.
  • Multiply your child's weight by 703.
  • Divide this number by your child's height in inches.
  • Divide the resulting number by your child's height in inches.
  • Use a child's BMI chart to locate the percentile that your child falls into.

Calculate Your Child's BMI
Addidionally, you may use the Child and Teen BMI Percentile Calculator provided on the CDC web site.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Weight: Assessing Your Weight: BMI: About Adult BMI DNPAO CDC. 20 June 2008.


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