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Interactive Tool: What Is Your Child's BMI? - What does this tool measure?


Click here to find out your child's BMI (body mass index) calculator.gif. This tool can be used for children ages 2 through 19. Be cautious if you use this tool or any height and weight charts to assess your child's growth after he or she reaches puberty. Check with your doctor if you have questions.

This tool uses your child's weight and height to compare your child's size to that of other boys or girls of the same age. Not all children are the same. Some are naturally larger and some are naturally smaller. Your child's size will be given two numbers—a BMI value and its percentile. The percentile is the number that ranks your child's size among other children of the same gender and age.

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Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, to children and teens. Learn more.

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What's most important is that your child is at the same percentile over time, so it takes several measurements to assess your child's growth. You should talk with your doctor if your child suddenly shifts up or down in percentile. A gradual change from one percentile to another is probably not a cause for concern.

Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about your child's weight. Finding that a child is "overweight" or "underweight" is a medical diagnosis. Your doctor can give you steps to take to help your child reach and stay at a healthy weight.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 20, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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