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Determining Body Mass Index for Teens

What is body mass index?

Determining how much your adolescent should weigh is not a simple matter of looking at an insurance height-weight chart. It includes considering the amount of bone, muscle, and fat in his or her body. The amount of fat is the critical measurement.

A good indicator of how much fat your adolescent carries is the body mass index (BMI). Although it is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your teen's body is composed of fat.

The formulas below apply to adults only. For children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years, the BMI varies by age and sex. An additional step must be performed after the BMI has been determined using 1 of the formulas below. The BMI-for-age percentile is determined by comparing your teen's weight to that of other teens of the same age and sex.

In other words, by plotting your child's BMI value into the CDC's BMI-for-age growth chart (located at www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/clinical_charts.htm), you can determine if your child is underweight, within normal range, overweight, or obese. Or, you can easily calculate it from CDC's online tool at  http://nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/Calculator.aspx 

To calculate an adult's BMI using the English formula

For example, a person who weighs 165 pounds and is 5 feet 4 inches tall has a BMI of 28.

165 lbs x 703=28
(64 inches) x (64 inches)

To calculate an adult's BMI using the metric formula

A BMI between 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Anything over 30 is considered obese. Normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.(BMI cut-offs for people of South Asian descent  are different)

Determining Body Mass Index for Teens - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Topiwala. Shehzad. MD
Last Review Date: 2015-06-10T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2015-06-18T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2015-06-18T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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