Huh? Would you like a translation? Here it is: For your information (FYI), your
body mass index (BMI) is pretty darn important (PDI).
Did you know you had a BMI? Body mass index is a calculation that
uses your height and weight to estimate how much body fat you have. Too much body
fat is a problem because it can lead to illnesses and other health problems.
BMI, although not a perfect method for judging someone's weight, is often a good
way to check on how a kid is growing.
The best way to determine your BMI is to have your doctor do it for you. That way,
you'll know the number is accurate and your doctor can discuss the result with you
and your mom or dad.
Once you know your BMI, you'll learn that you are in one of four categories:
Underweight: less than the 5th percentile
Healthy weight: greater than or equal to 5th but less than 85th
percentiles (in other words: 5th to 84th percentile)
Overweight: greater than or equal to 85th but less than 95th
percentiles (85th to 94th percentile)
Obese: greater than or equal to the 95th percentile
A kid whose BMI is at the 50th percentile is close to average compared
with the kids of the same age and gender who were measured to make the chart. A kid
at the 85th to 94th percentiles is considered overweight.
And a kid who measures at or above the 95th percentile is considered obese,
a term doctors use that means very overweight.
How BMI Can Change
It's important to remember that BMI is interpreted differently for adults. There
are separate charts for men and women, but they don't use percentiles at all —
just number ranges that are considered underweight, normal weight, overweight, or
obese (which means very overweight). That's because adults have stopped growing and
their age is no longer a major consideration when it comes to weight.
Kids, on the other hand, are growing. And it's common for kids to gain weight during
certain times in childhood, such as puberty.
The charts take growth into account.
The following example shows that in action: Here's a look at a boy as he grows
yet stays in the 50th percentile for BMI, which means he's average. Notice
that his BMI goes up and down, but he continues to stay at the same percentile.
Where BMI Can Fall Short
BMI is not the whole story when it comes to someone's weight. A more muscular
kid might have a higher weight and BMI but not have too much body fat. A smaller kid
could have an ideal BMI, but might have less muscle and too much body fat.
Also, it's very common for kids to gain weight quickly — and see the BMI
go up — during puberty. Because of these and other considerations, it's
a good idea to talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether you are
at your ideal weight.
If your doctor tells you your BMI is high, don't let it get you down. Instead,
talk to your doctor about what you should do to lower your BMI. Unlike adults, kids
don't usually need to diet. But by eating healthier and getting more exercise,
a kid can improve his or her BMI.
Controlling a weight problem while you're still a kid can help you avoid becoming
an overweight adult and developing health problems like diabetes
and heart disease. With a little effort, your BMI will be JWIOTB — just where
it ought to be!