BMI For Children...

Updated on May 03, 2014
L.M. asks from Nampa, ID
7 answers

I'm thoroughly confused. We have a new pediatrician and we get a printout with all the medical information at the end of the visit. On the page, there are items entered: Weight, Height, temperature, BP, etc... There is also the BMI. I have no clue how to read it. I've looked a bit online, but still can't figure it out. Can someone help me? Here are the three readings, as they appear on the page:

First child (female, 14 yrs.): 23.47 kg/m2 (84%, Z=0.98)
Second child (female, 10 yrs.): 19.85 kg/m2 (50%, Z=0.00)
Third child (male, 5 yrs.): 15.93 kg/m2 (66%, Z=0.40)

Can someone explain this to me? We don't have another appt. for 2 more months, and my oldest child is worried she's overweight. I say she's fine and that the doctor would have said something if there were anything to be concerned about.

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide!

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So What Happened?

Here are their weights and heights:

First child: 134 lbs., 5'3.5"
Second child: 113 lbs., 5'3.25"
Third child: 52 lbs., 4'

First child is a bit shorter than her peers, Second is quite a lot taller than most of her peers, and third is taller than many (but not most) of his peers.

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

BMI compares weight to height which is why it's used to determine whether a person is over/under weight. It isn't actually done using pounds and inches, it's done with kilograms and meters hence the kg/m2 after the number... but don't stress that's just what's used in the formula... the BMI you've always heard of is ALWAYS done the same way... the calculators just make the conversion and don't mention it. The % is the percentile so ti tells what percent of children that age are BELOW the BMI of your child. Z values from -1 to 1 are within the normal range. 0 is totally average. Positive z values mean your child is above the average BMI negative they are below.

So your first daughter has a BMI of 23.47. Relative to her height she's heavier than 84% of girls her age. Z=0.98 she is above the average close to the highest end of the normal spectrum. Whether or not that is TOO high to be healthy is a question for her doctor, but you can also check a healthy BMI chart to see where the healthy range is.

Second daughter has a BMI of 19.85. That is EXACTLY average for a 10 year old girl. 50% of girls are higher, 50% are lower. Z=0 she is right in the middle.

Your son has a BMI of 15.93. Compared to his height he's heavier than 66% of 5 year old boys. Z=0.40 he is above the average, but within the middle half of kids. Again, your doctor would be the one to tell you if he's in the healthy range.

Honestly your oldest child MIGHT be slightly over weight, but she may NOT be. This is something to discuss with the doctor. For an adult, a BMI of 23 would be toward the high end of healthy (18.5-24.9), but for children there is not a hard and fast healthy BMI range because that changes according to their age.

Call the doctor and ask her to discuss it with your daughter. You do NOT want her to stress about this! If it needs to be addressed, help her take care of it. If not, help her let it go.

Hope this helps.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

to get pounds multiply the kg number by 2.2. so 23.47 times 2.2 = 51.6 pounds...dont know how he got a 84 percentile out of that because that is small. My 10 year old is in the 50% and weighs 82. Your numbers seem low. Are the kids real small for their age. How much does your oldest weigh, is she actually only 51 pounds? My 82 pound 10 year old is super skinny. I know kids are made to worry too much about weight. My daughter was a little chunky around 14 and now at 18 is slender. Sometimes we have to just let them grow up a little. We dont want them to focus so hard on it that it leads their lives.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

BMI stands for body mass index. It is just another way to measure a person's weight. It is supposedly a more accurate way to define weight. 130 pounds on someone who is 3 feet tall is very different from someone who weighs 130 pounds and is 5' 3" and very different from 130 pounds on someone who is 6' 8". It might be considered normal for someone who is 5' 3", but on someone 3' it would be considered obese and on someone 6' 8" it would be considered significantly underweight.

Look for a BMI calculator for children online. It usually asks for gender, age, height, and weight. It will also show you the guidelines for what is considered a healthy BMI for that individual. For kids, you also have to remember that they might have a high BMI right now, but next month they might hit a growth spurt that will shoot up their height and average out their BMI. Our 4 year old son was always in the 50-60th percentile for weight. Then he hit a growth spurt and now he is in the 40th percentile for weight. We did nothing to change his diet.

But, be aware that BMI does not necessarily equal good or poor health. Someone might have an average BMI, but have behaviors that could cause poor health. Someone with a higher BMI can be healthier than someone with an average BMI. As with anything medical, if you find it on the internet, take it with a grain of salt. Your doctor is the best resource. At your appointment in two months, be prepared to ask your doctor about it. It isn't anything life threatening that you need to address right now.


answers from Norfolk on

Have you asked your doctors office what the numbers mean?
They should be able to explain it to you.

Try inputting your numbers into this BMI calculator for kids (this site does a good job of explaining what the results mean):



answers from Las Vegas on

I would give the office a call on Monday, perhaps they can point you in the right direction or send you something.

Yes, the doctor would have discussed a diet for your child if she were overweight.

If she is concerned, it is a good time to start eating more healthy. My 8 year old has vowed to slow down on the processed foods and start eating better. It did slim her down a bit, but nothing drastic.


answers from Rochester on

Just based solely on my own body - as I am 5'4" - and was as well when I was your daughter's age - 135 is a bit heavy. Obese? Of course not. So she's a bit on the sturdy side - depending on how it sits on her. I mean, does she lift weights, play soccer, etc? Then perhaps it's normal, if she has a lot of muscle mass. Is she relatively sedentary? Then she's a tad overweight. I don't think it's anything to stress about, but perhaps it's time to make some healthy changes before it DOES become a problem, because it's a lot easier to deal with it before it becomes a true problem.



answers from Philadelphia on

Google BMI calculator for kids and plug in your kids measurement as instructed. It will explain to you what the numbers mean.

For example I just plugged in your oldest info. She is in the normal weight range for her height (84%). Percentages over the 85% are considered overweight.

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