Ideal Body Weight for Children

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It is the goal of many parents to keep their kids healthy and happy. If you are dedicated to ensuring that your child is as fit as possible, educate yourself on the body weight ideals for youngsters. By knowing where your child lays on the weight continuum, you can better monitor his growth and increase the likelihood that he remains healthy and happy.


Determining Factors

Your child’s ideal body weight is not determined by his age entirely, but instead more by his height and weight. By measuring your child’s stature and body mass, you can determine how well his weight fits his frame, and determine whether his current size is ideal.

Body Mass Index

The generally accepted standard for determining ideal body weight is the Body Mass Index (BMI). This scale takes into account gender, height and weight to determine where a child fits among others. To determine your child’s BMI, you can visit the KidsHealth BMI calculator and input data about your kid.

Percentile Ranges Explained

When pediatricians speak of children’s weight, they commonly talk in percentages. These percentages can seem cryptic at best if you do not know what the ranges mean. When presented with a percentage in regards to your child’s weight, this figure tells you where your child fits in with others his same age. For example, if your pediatrician tells you that your child is in the 94th percentile for weight, he is telling you that your child is heavier than 94 percent of this children in his same age group.

Pediatricians commonly give a percentile rating for both height and weight. If your child is in a high percentile group for height as well as weight, it is likely an indication that, although larger than most, his weight is of no concern.

BMI Range Categories

Because BMI combines height and weight, it is often a more effective measure of determining how close to ideal your child’s weight is. BMI measures, like height and weight, can be charted on a percentile scale. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, if your child’s BMI is above the 95th percentile, your child is technically obese. If his BMI rests between the 85th and 94th percentiles, he is categorized as overweight. If he sits between the 5th and 8th percentile, he is in the large “ideal” range. And if his BMI is below the 5th percentile, he is technically underweight.

Just like all measures, BMI is not without fault. Several factors can influence the effectiveness of BMI measures. For example, if your child is particularly muscular, he may appear to have a higher BMI rating, when, in truth, he is not overweight at all but, instead, well-muscled.

Benefits of Weight-Related Knowledge

By educating yourself on where your child fits in with his peers, you can make better health choices for your kid. If your child is currently overweight or obese, he runs a greater risk of becoming an obese adult. By intervening early and putting effort into getting him into the ideal range, you may be able to influence his health future.

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