Understanding Body Mass Index

Your child’s body will undergo significant changes as he/she grows from an infant into an adult. Some parents worry that their child is too skinny, while other parents are concerned that their child is heavier than his/her playmates. The fact is that kids come in many shapes and sizes. However, in recent years, more parents are being told by their pediatrician that their youngsters are overweight. These kids may be eating larger meals or  snacking more often than their peers. They might be spending more time in front of the television, computer or playing video games rather than being physically active.

Your child’s pediatrician has been charting his/her height and weight since infancy, typically during every well visit in the first 2 years of life, then once a year after the age of 2 years. Your pediatrician can show you your child’s growth chart which will help you to see how your child’s height and weight compares to that of his/her peers. Does your child fall within the normal range of height and weight for age?  Your pediatrician can tell you if there are concerns about too much (or too little) weight gain.

After age 2 years, the doctor will calculate your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a good indicator of whether your child is overweight. BMI is a calculation of your child’s body weight relative to height. A healthy BMI is considered between the 5th and 85th percentile for age.

At your child’s next well visit, ask your pediatrician’s guidance in using growth charts and BMI graphs to provide you with a clear picture of your child’s present status  and areas that may require attention.  

For more information about how to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity, please visit: www.letsmove.gov

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Pathway Pediatrics, LLC
Westfall Medical Park
2225 South Clinton Avenue, Suite 1A
Rochester, NY 14618
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