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Do you know your child's BMI?

BMI is a good way to tell if your child is overweight. Talk to your health care provider today to learn more.

You’re probably familiar with your doctor measuring your child’s weight.

Depending on what clinic you go to, the doctor, nurse, or community health aide will ask your child to take off his or her shoes and stand on a scale. A number shows up to tell you your child’s body weight.

But what about their BMI?

Your health care provider can talk to you BMI, too. BMI is an abbreviation for body mass index. It provides a good estimate of how much of your child’s body is made up of fat.

BMI also is an important number to predict if your child is at risk for weight-related health problems. These problems — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes — can begin in childhood if a child is above a healthy weight.

Body mass index is a calculation that factors in two main measurements: height and weight. For children, body mass index also varies depending on your child’s gender, male or female, and your child’s age, considering that children’s bodies frequently change as they grow older.

There are reliable and easy-to-use tools online that will quickly calculate your child’s BMI. We’ve posted a calculator from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on our Play Every Day website.

If you’ve learned your child’s BMI, or want help calculating it, please talk with your health care provider about what your child’s body mass index may mean for your child’s health. Your provider can help you and your family make the best decisions to help your child achieve the best possible health and stay at a healthy weight.