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About Child & Teen BMI

In children, a high amount of body fat can lead to weight-related diseases and other health issues and being underweight can also put one at risk for health issues.

A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI is correlated with more direct measures of body fat, such as skinfold thickness measurements, bioelectrical impedance, densitometry (underwater weighing), dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and other methods1,2,3. BMI can be considered an alternative to direct measures of body fat. In general, BMI is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

BM Percentile Calculator for Children and Teens

How is BMI calculated for children and teens?

Calculating BMI using the BMI Percentile Calculator involves the following steps:

  1.  Measure height and weight. Refer to Measuring Children's Height and Weight Accurately At Home for guidance.
  2.  Use the Child and Teen BMI Calculator to calculate BMI. The BMI number is calculated using standard formulas.

What is a BMI percentile and how is it interpreted?

After BMI is calculated for children and teens, it is expressed as a percentile which can be obtained from either a graph or a percentile calculator (see links below). These percentiles express a child’s BMI relative to children in the U.S. who participated in national surveys that were conducted from 1963-65 to 1988-944. Because weight and height change during growth and development, as does their relation to body fatness, a child’s BMI must be interpreted relative to other children of the same sex and age. Click Here for more details.


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