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Info about Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body mass index or shortened BMI is numerical computationregarding person’s height and weight. Since the first use of this term in the beginningof the 1970s, the term has become widely used all over the globe, to measurebody fat of an individual. At first, BMI wasn’t meant to be used for individualdiagnosis, but for the studies of population, but since it was so easy andsimple, many people start and still are using this method to determine whether theyare thin or fat.

Since obesity has become an alarming problem, parents aremore than ever concerned about the health and weight of their children. The BMIformula can be applied to both children and adult people, with different interpretationof the given results. BMI formula remained the same, but when analyzing the children,doctors take into account their age and gender, since there are different agegroups, and boys and girls have different charts as well.

Calculation of BMI in Children

To calculate the BMI of a child, a person should divide hisor her body weight in kilograms with the square of the kid’s height in meters.The result calculated this way is body mass index and this number can be linkedto the fat in and on the body.

For many kids, BMI can be evaluated on BMI-for-age percentile.Percentile or centile is used in statistics and some social sciences, and itdescribes the value below which a certain percent of observations fall. To bemore precise, if a child belongs to 70th percentile of his or her age,it means that 70% of kids of the same age and gender have lower BMI than that particularkid. Amount of fat on the body changes with age and gender, and therefore BMIis often BMI-for-age.

There are charts explaining the BMI of the kids, and accordingto them, weight status of a child is determined to a category of percentilethe child is in. These charts work for kids from 2 to 19 years of age, andusing them, you are able to determine their weight status.

Underweight kids correspond to BMI values under 5thpercentile. Kids normal to their age come somewhere between 5th and85th percentile, while children over 85th to 95thpercentile are at a risk to be overweight. Overweight child has BMI of or above95th percentile. Some doctors don’t like to use the word “obese” whentalking about children, but others claim that the fourth (and even third) category,over 95th percentile describes obese children.

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