Calculator Especially for Kids
January 28, 2004
Agricultural Research Service scientists at
the Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) in Houston, Texas, have
developed an interactive computer tool to help parents keep their growing
children's weight on track.
Based on a revised growth chart from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), the Children's BMI
(Body Mass Index) and Percentile Graph Calculator provides a number that
corresponds with a child's weight and height for age.
The BMI is a relationship between weight and height that is associated with
body fat and health risk. The CDC has provided BMI ranges for those at risk of
being overweight. A BMI of more than 25 is considered overweight.
The new computer tool also plots the child's BMI percentile on a chart that
is age-appropriate, giving parents an important aid for determining the proper
weight for their child.
Traditionally, the BMI has been used as a measure of body fat based on
height and weight that has been applied to adult men and women. Unlike adults,
the average BMI of children changes as they grow. Therefore, a BMI percentile
value has more meaning than just the BMI value.
Roman Shypailo, an instructor of pediatrics at the Houston-based
Baylor College of Medicine and a CNRC
body composition expert, is the project's principal architect. Parents should
watch out for significant "drifting" in their child's readings,
either up or down, when using the BMI percentile calculator over time,
according to Shypailo.
Monitoring a child's BMI percentile could help parents catch potentially
unhealthy changes in the child's weight at an early age, so they could more
easily make changes in the child's diet and exercise to correct the problem
The CNRC is operated by the Baylor College of Medicine in cooperation with
Texas Children's Hospital
and ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
The CNRC's BMI calculator is available online at: