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Weight Guidelines for Kids: Is Your Child Overweight?
Methods for Assessing Children’s Weight
Clinical Growth Charts
BMI-for-Age Growth Charts
|Classification||Cutoff Point of BMI for age|
|Underweight||Less than the 5th percentile|
|Healthy weight||5th precentile-84th percentile|
|Obese||95th percentile or greater|
If Your Child Is Overweight
- Be supportive. Make sure your child knows that you love and accept them at any weight. Listen to your child’s concerns about weight and offer your support, acceptance, and encouragement.
- Encourage healthy eating habits. Make an effort to keep a variety of healthful foods—fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and lean meats—on hand. Practice healthful eating habits such as eating breakfast everyday, eating fast food less often, and healthy snacking.
- Encourage daily physical activity. Help your child get some exercise everyday. When it’s safe and possible, let them walk to school, the store, or friends' houses. It also helps to encourage physical education in school, participation in extracurricular sports teams or classes, and to be active as a family.
- Discourage too many inactive hobbies. Limit the time your child is allowed to watch TV, play video games, and surf the internet. Instead, help your child come up with fun alternatives to these hobbies.
- Be a positive role model. Show your child that you lead a healthy lifestyle by eating healthful foods and being physically active. This way, your child will be more likely to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits that will last a lifetime.
- Seek help. Your doctor and local recreation or community center may offer information and programs that will help you manage your child’s weight. Seek help from these resources if you need it.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders http://win.niddk.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
About BMI for children and teens. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens%5Fbmi/about%5Fchildrens%5Fbmi.html. Updated September 13, 2011. Accessed March 13, 2014.
Childhood obesity. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 8, 2014. Accessed March 13, 2014.
Clinical growth charts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/clinical%5Fcharts.htm. Updated August 4, 2009. Accessed March 13, 2014.
Helping your overweight child. Weight Control Information website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/PDFs/overwtchild7-04.pdf. Updated June 2013. Accessed March 13, 2014.
Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 16, 2012. Accessed June 1, 2012.
Prevalence of overweight among children and adolescents: United States, Trends 1963–1965 Through 2007-2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity%5Fchild%5F07%5F08/obesity%5Fchild%5F07%5F08.htm. Accessed March 13, 2014.
Use and interpretation of the CDC growth charts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/growthcharts/resources/growthchart.pdf. Updated May 2013. Accessed March 13, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013
- Update Date: 03/13/2014