Body Mass Index (BMI) for Children and Teens
BMI is Used Differently with Children than it is with Adults
Each of the CDC BMI-for-age gender specific charts contains a series of curved lines indicating specific percentiles. Healthcare professionals use the following established percentile cutoff points to identify underweight and overweight in children.
BMI decreases during the preschool years, then increases into adulthood. The percentile curves show this pattern of growth.
What does it mean if my child is in the 60th percentile?
Example: Let's look at the BMI for a boy as he grows. While his BMI changes, he remains at the 95th percentile BMI-for-age.
We see how the boy's BMI declines during his preschool years and increases as he gets older.
Why is BMI-for-age a useful tool?
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)
Last Editorial Review: 1/3/2005
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