It’s not always easy to tell if a child is a healthy weight for their age and height. Every child is unique, and their growth can change over time. That’s why it’s important to regularly monitor child growth.
There’s no perfect ‘one size fits all’ measure for child growth, but the Body Mass Index (BMI) is commonly used for children and teenagers from 2 through to 19 years. BMI compares a child’s weight and height to see if it’s in balance. Because boys and girls typically grow at different rates, child BMI measures are age- and sex-specific.
BMI is a screening tool, which means it can give an indication of whether your child is above, below, or within a healthy weight range. Routine BMI measurements can also show whether there have been big changes in a short period of time.
After measuring your child’s BMI and tracking it on their growth chart, your health care provider may explore a range of other factors to better understand your child’s overall health. These factors may include nutrition, physical activity, screen time and sleep, plus other health screenings.
You can find out your child’s BMI using the CDC BMI percentile calculator, or ask your doctor or child nurse to measure your child’s growth.
As parents and carers, there’s a lot you can do to support your child to develop healthy habits. Families can work as a team to take small, positive steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
What’s more, if the whole family makes healthy lifestyle changes, it’s easier for your child to stay healthy now and as they get older.
Discover practical ways your family can make positive changes for a healthier tomorrow.