Know the difference between the BMI of adult and children?
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. 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.
Causes of Child Obesity
Once the BMI value has been calculated, it is plotted on a BMI-for-age Percentile Chart. Separate charts are used for boys and girls.
BMI-for-age Percentile Chart, Girls, 6 - 18 years
BMI-for-age Percentile Chart, Boys, 6 - 18 years
When the BMI (vertical axis) is plotted against the age (horizontal axis), it intersects to show which percentile or percentile range that particular BMI value falls within. See an example of a
Different percentiles or percentile ranges indicate different weight categories.
The percentile or percentile range shows the relative position of the child’s BMI among children of the same age and gender.
Raising Healthy Kids
For children, BMI is used to determine if they are severely overweight, overweight, of acceptable weight, underweight or severely underweight. It is not a diagnostic tool. So, if you find that your child is overweight or underweight, it is best for you to consult your doctor to find out if he/she has any
health problems associated with his/her weight.
Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.
Download the HealthHub app on
Google Play or
Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
Read these next:
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
Recommended Dietary Allowances
Cut 100 Calories From Your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Every Day
What to Eat to Lose Weight
The ABCs of Health Screening
How to Eat Right to Feel Right
Eating Healthily at The School Canteen
View More Programmes
Find out more about pre-diabetes, diabetes and how you can prevent them by making some changes to your lifestyle.
Browse Live Healthy
In partnership with