What's the Ideal BMI for Children?

    What's the Ideal BMI for Children?

    What is the ideal BMI for children in the Philippines? This is important as body mass index (BMI) plays a large role in determining how healthy a person is.

    What is BMI?

    Before we discuss anything else, we have to understand what BMI is. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement of a person’s weight when compared to their height. It is not a direct measurement of the body fat of a person although it is often used to measure the amount of fat in the body. That is because as the BMI of a person goes up so does the overall body fat.

    The usual formula to get the BMI is to divide the weight (kilograms) by the square of the height (meters).

    BMI Calculator

    Why is it Important to Know?

    As mentioned, BMI is often used as an indicator of body fat and so it is used to measure health risks. It is often used by healthcare professionals to determine who falls under the category of obese or overweight. People who would fall under those categories face a higher risk of developing certain health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

    While BMI is a useful indicator, there are certain things that it cannot measure. For example, it cannot measure the actual composition of the body. Remember, that the body is made up of other components too like bones and other tissues. BMI does not give a measurement of how much of the body is made up of those other components.

    Ideal BMI for Children

    BMI for children

    Now, you might be wondering about the ideal BMI for children in the Philippines.

    This is important because a good BMI will mean that a child is not at risk of becoming overweight, which comes with a lot of health risks. As a parent, you would like to know the ideal BMI for your kids. Using a BMI chart for children by age from other countries may not be as reliable since Filipino children would have different average heights per age.

    For children, the BMI may not be measured with a specific number as with adults. That is because children’s bodies change rapidly and they can grow quickly. The amount of body fat that they have will also change as they grow.

    Percentile Ranking

    So, for children, their BMI will vary a lot and it will be based on their age and their gender. It is usually indicated by the percentile, which indicates how your child’s BMI compares with kids of the same age.

    To get a child’s BMI, one has to take the child’s BMI and age and gender and look it up at a growth curve to compare with the average weight and height of children of the same age.

    BMI percentiles are grouped into categories:

    • Below the 5th percentile, which would be categorized as underweight.
    • Between the 5th percentile to the 85th percentile, which is categorized as healthy
    • From the 85th percentile to the 95th percentile, which is categorized as overweight.
    • From the 95th percentile and higher which would be categorized as obese.

    The ideal Asian BMI is different from that of other races, so you need to be careful when using references for measuring the ideal BMI.

    Ask Your Pediatrician

    If you are concerned about your child’s BMI, then you need to ask your pediatrician directly. If you feel that your child is overweight or has a tendency to be obese, then you need to discuss it with the doctor right away.

    Tips for Achieving an Ideal BMI for Children

    Again, BMI is not an all-in-one indicator of the health of a person, including your child. Still, it will be a good thing to know, especially if you are being guided by your pediatrician. Now, here are some tips that you can try to follow to get an ideal BMI. These ideas can be helpful not just for your kids but for you as well.

    Get healthy servings of fruit and veggies

    Ideally, your whole family should be getting five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. It would be easier if your kids will learn how to appreciate fruits and vegetables at an early age.

    To further encourage them to eat their veggies, invite your kids to take part in meal preparation. By making cooking and meal prep fun, they become more excited to try out different types of food.

    Get more active

    Limit the amount of time that your kids and the rest of the family use devices and watch TV. The less time that they spend on devices, the more physical activities that they can do.

    Make sure that all family members have some form of physical activity, around 60 minutes each day. If possible, you should set aside a time each day so that your family can have some form of exercise together. That way, you can motivate each other.

    Cut down on junk food

    To help achieve the ideal BMI for children, avoid giving your kids beverages that have been sweetened. These normally contain too much sugar for their health. It is better that you as a family get used to drinking water and save the sugary drinks for special occasions.

    Just aim for healthy living for you and your family. There are always healthier choices that are available out there for you.

    Key Takeaways

    BMI can be an important indicator of your child’s health but to achieve better health, you should take the right actions toward achieving it. Cultivating good habits and mindsets towards diet and nutrition and exercise can greatly help in teaching your child about healthy living.

    If you find that your child is obese or is overweight, ask the help of your child’s pediatrician so you can ensure your child’s health at every step. They can recommend age-appropriate exercises, nutrition, and other tips to help. But of course, children are more likely to try and adopt these healthy habits if they see their parents and other adults practicing them.

    Encourage your child to achieve a healthy BMI by also taking care of your own BMI. You can check your ideal BMI using the BMI Calculator.

    Learn more about Parenting here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Den Alibudbud · Updated Mar 31, 2021