Unhealthy Weight in Children
Body mass index (BMI), which measures weight in relation to
height, is used to identify a possible weight problem for a child. A child with a BMI in the 86th to 94th percentile on a growth chart is usually
In some cases, a child may be overweight because he or she has a
large amount of body fat (adipose tissue). But not all children with BMIs
in the 86th to 94th percentile have too much body fat. For instance:
- A child who has grown consistently at a higher percentile for
most of his or her life may just be bigger than other children of the same age
due to genetics.
- Before and during puberty, it is normal for
children to have a significant gain in weight before beginning to grow in
height. This can temporarily increase a child's BMI.
- Children who
are very muscular (for instance, children who are very active in sports) may
have a higher BMI but have normal or even low amounts of body fat.