Childhood Obesity Growth Charts

Measuring Growth in Children using Weight-for-Age Percentiles Chart:

Weight categories for children and teens are defined so that they take into account normal differences in body fat between boys and girls and differences in body fat at various ages. Children’s weight categories are determined by measuring a child’s height and weight and then plotting them on a weight-to-age chart (see childhood obesity charts). Some doctors discuss weight by referring to weight-for-age percentiles. This is not a method to determine overweight (or child obesity) in children, but simply an indicator of growth as compared to children of the same age (see childhood obesity definition).

Why Growth Charts needed?

Growth charts show health care providers how children are growing compared with other children of the same gender and age. They also health care professionals to see the way kids' height and weight gain over time, and whether they're developing proportionately.
For example; a child was growing in same manner until he was 2 years old, then unexpectedly started growing at a much slower rate than other children. That might indicate a health problem. Doctors could see that by looking at a growth chart.

What Affects a Child's Growth?

Genetics, gender, food (see childhood obesity fast food), physical activity, health problems, environment, and hormones all influence a child's height and weight (see childhood Obesity Causes).

There are separate weight-to-age curves for males and females, ages two to 20 years.

Growth Charts:

child obesityWeight-for-Age Percentile Chart For Boys

Weight-for-Age Percentile Chart For Girls

To plot your child’s weight-for-age percentile, find the age of your child on the bottom of the chart and look to the left to locate their body weight. Once you locate their weight and age, plot the point on the graph using a pen or pencil. Once you have plotted the measurement, locate the corresponding shaded color on the bottom of the chart to determine your child’s weight-for-age percentile. Once you have found your child’s weight-for-age percentile, you can then determine what percentile (or percentile range) they fall into, as compared to children of the same age.

For example, if your child is in the 95th percentile, this means that their weight is greater than 95 percent of children of the same age.

Commonly used standard growth charts provided by CDC in 2000:

Ages birth to 36 months (3 years):
Girls' length- and weight-for-age
Boys' length- and weight-for-age
Girls' head circumference-for-age and weight-for-length
Boys' head circumference-for-age and weight-for-length

Ages 2 to 20 years:
Girls' stature- and weight-for-age
Boys' stature- and weight-for-age
Girls ' weight-for-stature
Boys' weight-for-stature

Why head circumference is taken into account?

In babies, head circumference (the distance around the largest part of the head) can provide clues about brain development. If a baby's head is bigger or smaller than most other kids', or the head circumference stops increasing or increases quickly, it may indicate a problem.
For example, an unusually large head may be a sign of hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid inside the brain. A head that's smaller than average may be a sign that the brain is not developing properly or has stopped growing.

What is the ideal BMI Percentile for my child?

There is no one ideal number. Healthy children come in all shapes and sizes, and a baby who is in the 5th percentile can be just as healthy as a baby who is in the 95th percentile. Ideally, each child will follow along the same growth pattern over time, growing in height and gaining weight at the same rate, with the height and weight in proportion to one another. This means that usually a child stays on a certain percentile line on the growth curve. So if our 4-year-old boy on the 10th percentile line has always been on that line, he is continuing to grow along his pattern, which is a good sign (see childhood obesity bmi).

childhood obesity preventionTips for parents

What can you do as a parent or guardian or caregiver to help preventing childhood obesity? We have some ideas in our Childhood Obesity Prevention section.

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childhood obesity definitionChildhood Obesity Definition
Body mass index (BMI)is a measure used defining childhood obesity. BMI can be calculated using either English or metric units. BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height that is used to determine weight status.[Read more]
childhood obesity bmiChildhood Obesity BMI
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common method to measure adult obesity. However, BMI is now becoming a popular tool, which is combined with BMI-for-age percentiles, used to measure obesity in children.[Read More]
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For children and adolescents (aged 2–19 years), BMI is calculated and the BMI number is plotted on the BMI-for-age growth charts to obtain a percentile ranking. Separate charts for boys and girls are used.[Read More]
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These charts give general ranges of healthy weights and overweight for a child's height. Many health care providers define childhood obesity as weighing 20% or more over the healthy range.[Read More]
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Doctors and other health care professionals are the best people to find out whether a child or teen's weight is healthy, and they can help in ruling-out rare medical conditions as the effects of childhood obesity.[Read more]

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