Weight Guidelines for Kids: Is Your Child Overweight?

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Image for weight guidelines children Overweight or obesity in children is a serious health concern. Overweight children are more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. They also may deal with social discrimination from their peers, which can lead to poor self-esteem and depression. What’s more, overweight kids have a higher chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. But what does this mean? How do you know if your child is overweight? The best way to find out is to schedule a visit with your child's doctor, who can tell you if your child’s weight is in a healthy range. But if you are concerned that your child may be overweight, there are some other ways you can assess your child’s weight.

Methods for Assessing Children’s Weight

Clinical Growth Charts

The doctor will likely measure your child’s height and weight to monitor growth patterns during regular appointments. Most doctors use clinical growth charts to do this.The doctor will use your child’s height and weight to determine what percentile your child falls into according to an age- and gender-appropriate growth chart. A percentile will tell you how your child’s height and weight compare to a nationally representative group of children of the same age and gender. For example, if your child falls into the 70th percentile for weight, approximately 70% of children your child’s age and gender are at a lower weight than your child. Clinical growth charts can be accessed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

BMI-for-Age Growth Charts

For children aged 2-20, BMI (body mass index)-for-age charts are a way to assess their weight in relation to their height. Since childrens’ and teens’ body fatness changes as they grow, the cutoff points that adults use for BMI are not applicable to children. Instead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed charts for assessing children’s BMI according to their age and gender. Like clinical growth charts, BMI-for-age charts indicate which percentile your child falls into. BMI-for-age growth charts can be accessed at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website.

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