Child's 5th Year: What Does Your Child's BMI Mean?

Our Body Mass Index (BMI) tells us if we are in a healthy weight range. BMI for adults and children are calculated the same way but are interpreted differently. Try using our BMI calculator and find out what your BMI is.

BMI = Weight (kg)/ [Height (m) x Height (m)]

BMI Ranges for Children: Look at the Percentile

BMI for children is plotted on a chart that shows what percentile your child belongs in. This tells you how he compares with children of the same age and gender.

As children grow, the amount of body fat changes with age so BMI for children needs to be interpreted in relation to a child's age. Although BMI doesn't measure body fat directly, it can be considered an alternative to direct measures of body fat.

There are also gender differences. Therefore, for children and youth, BMI is age and gender specific. This means that the age and gender of a child must be considered when interpreting their BMI.



≥ 97th percentile

Severely Overweight

90th to < 97th percentile


5th to > 90th percentile

Acceptable Weight

*Different countries may have slightly varying percentiles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America for example, defines overweight as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. Obesity in children is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex.

Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for a child's healthy growth and development. Overweight or obese children have a higher risk of health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in adulthood.

No matter which BMI percentile your child is in, continue to watch your child's portions and offer a variety of healthy food from all major food groups: wholegrains, vegetables, fruit, and lean meat/others. And let your child have 2-3 hours of physical activity spread throughout the day!

Tips for Overweight Children

  1. More physical activity, e.g. kite-flying, walks in the park, playground time
  2. Reduce portions slightly, e.g. a smaller cut of lean meat, one fewer cracker
  3. Second helpings should comprise of fruits and vegetables, not meat or carbs
  4. Do not use food as a reward or without treats as a punishment
  5. Encourage him to eat slowly, and teach him to recognise when he's full

Calculating BMI is no substitute for medical advice. So if you're concerned about your child's health, talk to a medical professional.

Keep being an awesome and healthy role model, mum and dad!

Learn to calculate and interpret BMI for children and find out what's a healthy BMI range.

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.

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