Measuring Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a way of measuring and comparing a child's (or adult's) weight to determine whether it falls within a healthy range. BMI charts are often utilised in keeping statistics on underweight overweight, obese, and healthy weights for individuals, prompting action by the health care community when, as is the case today, a growing percentage of the population measures outside of ideal ranges for optimal health and well being.
Assessing Your Child's BMICalculating BMI is a simple procedure. Weight in kilograms (kg) is divided by height in metres squared (BMI=kg/m²). The result of this basic calculation can help to determine the overall weight status, but it's important to note that in children, the results can be a bit deceiving. Normal development in children doesn't follow a steady or even path. In fact, most kids have many uneven growth spurts, sprouting up in height while their weight remains the same one year and then gaining weight without adding a bit of height the next. Fluctuations in BMI are perfectly normal for kids, but when a child's health practitioner notices an ongoing trend toward either underweight or overweight, it may be suggested that parents intervene to help their kids to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
What the Numbers MeanFor adults who are done growing (in height, at least!), BMI combined with waist measurement can give a fair and accurate picture of weight issues and help to determine a person's risk of developing weight related health problems. Some health care professionals may utilise BMI numbers for teenagers, especially those who are nearing adulthood. In general, BMI results are as follows:
- 18.5 or less -- Underweight
- 18.6 to 24.9 -- Normal
- 25.0 to 29.9 -- Overweight
- 30.0 to 39.9 -- Obese
- 40.0 or greater -- Extremely Obese