BMI for children

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                                         BMI for children

BMI results are interpreted differently for children.
When interpreting BMI for a child, health professionals look at a child's weight in relation to their height, age and sex. The result is called the child’s BMI centile. BMI centile is a good way of telling whether a child is a healthy weight, and is used by healthcare professionals.

Using your child’s BMI centile, a healthcare professional can tell whether they're growing as expected. You may have done something similar when your child was a baby, using the growth charts in the Personal Child Health Record ("red book").
Once your child’s BMI centile has been calculated, they will be in one of four categories:
  • underweight: below 2nd BMI centile
  • healthy weight: between the 2nd and 90th BMI centile
  • overweight: between 91st and to 97th BMI centile
  • obese: at or above 98th BMI centile. This BMI centile category is called "very overweight" in letters that are sent by the National Child Measurement Programme.
Most children should fall in the healthy weight range. A BMI at or above the 91st centile is likely to indicate your child has an increased risk of obesity-related health problems.
Some medical conditions or treatments may mean that BMI centile is not the best way to measure whether your child is a healthy weight. Your GP or other health professional can 
discuss this with you.

If your child is overweight
Research shows that children who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of ill health during childhood and in later life. If your child is overweight, it’s time to take action.
A GP or practice nurse can give advice and support on helping your child achieve a healthy weight as they grow. Find out more in When your child is overweight.

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