How do I know if my child is overweight?

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Dr. Corey Hebert shares tips on how to know if your child is overweight. Watch Dr. Corey Hebert's video for information on preventing childhood obesity.

More Related Answers from Dr. Corey Hebert
Dr. Corey Hebert shares tips on how to know if your child is overweight. Watch Dr. Corey Hebert's video for information on preventing childhood obesity. More
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How do you know if your child is overweight? Along with your pediatrician’s judgment, a good indicator is your child’s body mass index, or BMI. This number is based on your child’s height and weight. If your child has a BMI higher than 95 percent of other kids in the same age, sex, and height group, that’s considered obese. There are a number of websites that will automatically calculate your child’s BMI if you punch in a little info. (Try this one: apps.nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi. Hint: Don’t use an adult BMI calculator; the formula is different for children.) If doing math tickles you, however, you can figure out your child’s BMI with these steps:

1. Measure your child’s weight in pounds.
2. Measure your child’s height in inches, and multiply that number by itself (if he’s 58 inches tall, that would be 58 × 58, which equals 3,364).
3. Divide your child’s weight by the figure you just calculated in step 2.
4. Multiple the resulting figure by 703.

For example, if your seven-year-old son weighs 80 pounds and is 4 feet 10 inches tall (58 inches), your calculation would look something like this:

58 × 58 = 3,364

80 ÷ 3,364 = .0238

.0238 × 703 = 16.72

BMI = 16.72

By looking at the boys’ BMI chart found at www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/, your son’s BMI of 16.72 falls in the seventy-fifth percentile, which means he’s a normal, healthy weight.

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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