Is BMI Interpreted the Same Way for Children and Teens as Adults?

The Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a measurement used by physicians to help determine if someone is at a healthy weight. By inputting a patient’s height and weight into the calculator, a number is produced that suggests whether they are underweight, at a “normal” weight, overweight, or obese. The BMI is applied to both children and adults; however, it is not necessarily interpreted the same way. Our Alexandria bariatric surgeon explains:

The same formula is used for both kids and adults, but when measuring children, age and gender are also factors that are considered in addition to height and weight. This is because the amount of body fat that should be found within the body will change during development and will vary between boys and girls. Children are also placed in percentiles to show where they fit as a representative of all children in the same category. Children in a higher percentile have more fat content compared with lower percentiles. Children in the 95th percentile and above are considered obese, the same way adults with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.

BMI is one of the most commonly used indicators of body fatness, but it’s not the only one. A trained healthcare provider will consider multiple assessments when determining a patient’s well-being, regardless of age. To find your BMI, please use our Body Mass Index Calculator, and talk to us to learn more about this measurement and what it means for you.