Health Library
Body Mass Index (BMI)

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

BMI stands for body mass index. BMI uses your child’s weight and height. It is given to you as a number. Using this number, you can see how your child’s growth compares with other children who are the same age and gender. This is called BMI-for-age Percentile.

BMI-for-Age Percentile

BMI Graph

BMI-for-Age Percentile

BMI Graph

BMI Graph Cream Underweight, less than the 5th percentile

BMI Graph Green Healthy weight, 5th percentile up to the 85th percentile

BMI Graph Yellow Overweight, 85th to less than the 95th percentile

BMI Graph Red Has obesity, equal to or greater than the 95th percentile


High muscle mass may affect the BMI-for-age percentile.

Tips for Reaching A Healthy BMI-Think 5-2-1-0

Countdown to Success

BMI-for-Age percentile is only one measure of a healthy life. To help your child get to and/or stay at a healthy weight, follow these guidelines. 

5 Eat at least 5 fruit or vegetables servings every day. 

2 Limit screen time (TV, video games, computer) to less than 2 hours per day. 

1 Get at least 1 hour of activity every day. Go for a walk, play outside, dance or jump rope. 

0 Get zero calories from drinks except for skim, fat-free or 1% milk.

Adapted from the CDC Healthy Weight.

Last Updated 05/2020

Reviewed By Susan Sewell, RDII, and Maggie Huey, RD

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