Weight Loss

Adult vs Child BMI: How Weight Loss Approach Differs as We Age

In 2020, more American adults than ever had a BMI greater than 25, putting them at greater risk of weight-related health conditions.

The child obesity epidemic has also been increasing over the last 40 years, and now more than ever, it is important to understand how to keep track of your child’s health.

The BMI is a tool used by medical professionals to measure and report on a person’s overall health. However, adult and child BMIs are not the same.

This article will look at the difference between an adult BMI and a child BMI and discover how they differ. We will also look at how you can get an accurate BMI measurement for your own and your child’s health.

What Is BMI?

The BMI or Body Mass Index is a way of measuring your health by assessing your height and weight. Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.

It is a general way of looking at whether a person is a normal weight, weighs too little (underweight), or too much (overweight to obese) for their height.

Often, the BMI’s accuracy is called into question because the BMI does not account for your body consistency when taking the measurement.

Thus, extremely muscular weightlifters are often shown as obese on the BMI chart because muscle is much denser than fat.

Your doctor will take your BMI to assess your overall health but they should also take into account your body composition when measuring. This will result in an accurate assessment of your current health status.

How do Adult and Children’s BMIs differ?

Adult and Children’s BMIs are not the same, although they are calculated in the same way. Children’s BMI has to account for the fluctuations in weight and height changes as a child grows.

Consequently, a child’s BMI is a percentile measured against other children of the same age and sex. This gives a more accurate picture of the child’s health.

A child in the 85th percentile for their age bracket would be overweight, and a child in the 95th percentile is obese. In comparison, a child below the 5th percentile for their age group is underweight and possibly malnourished.

On the other hand, Adult BMI does not account for sex or age. It simply returns a value and associated weight status based on the calculation of height and weight.

How Is BMI calculated for Adults?

To calculate your BMI, you need your weight in kilograms and your height in meters. Divide your weight by your height squared, and you will have the number of your BMI. It should be a number between 15 – 50.

A healthy BMI is considered to be in the range of 18.5 – 24.9.

If your BMI is below 18.5, you are underweight. If it is between 20 – 25, you are considered overweight, and over 30 are considered obese.

If your weight is over 40, then you are considered morbidly obese and need to seek immediate medical advice to avoid putting your health at further risk.

How Is BMI Calculated for Children and Teens?

As with the adult BMI measurement, you need to measure your child’s height and weight to obtain an accurate BMI.

Ensure you follow the CDC’s advice on accurately measuring a child’s height and weight in the home.

With these figures, you can use an online calculator to obtain a BMI for your child. Most calculators will also tell you where your child falls within the percentile range for their age. If it does not, you can use the CDC guidelines to calculate this yourself.

What Are the Health Risks of a High BMI?

A high BMI, especially one above 30, carries certain increased risk factors to your ongoing health that need addressing as soon as possible.

These include:

  • cardiovascular disease and the risk of heart attack
  • gallbladder disease
  • development of type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • osteoarthritis
  • cancer (especially colon and breast)
  • mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety

The best way to address your BMI is through weight loss. Losing weight will reduce your BMI and also decrease your risk of developing any obesity-related illnesses.

There are many ways to lose weight through diet and exercise. If you are looking for the best weight loss program that suits you and your life, then you may want to consider the Saunabar weight loss plan.

What Are the Health Risks of a Low BMI?

Equally, being underweight is not good for your overall health either. If you have a BMI of below 18.5 or a child is in or below the 5th percentile for their age group, you are underweight.

Being underweight can impact your health in different ways. These include:

  • a compromised immune function and difficulty in fighting off infectious diseases
  • respiratory diseases such as bronchitis
  • osteoporosis or a weakening of the bone density
  • anemia or a lack of iron in the blood
  • vitamin deficiencies

If you suspect that your child is underweight, then you must speak with a medical professional who can advise on their health status and provide a plan for returning your child to a healthy weight.

What Are the Health Consequences of Obesity During Childhood?

Childhood obesity and children with a BMI in the 95th percentile have been on a steady upward trend in the USA over the last 40 years.

The risks to children are similar to those of adults, with the added potential threat of causing permanent damage to a child’s health that persists into their adult life.

Children run the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes, which will have harmful effects on the body.

Children who suffer from childhood obesity are also reported as suffering from lower self-esteem and quality of life.

Obese children tend to turn into obese adults, and the level of obesity is likely to be more severe in adulthood.

What Are the Common Causes of Childhood Obesity?

There are lots of factors relating to why a child may become obese during childhood.

A poor diet full of high-calorie foods with little nutrition will contribute to weight gain. These can include candy and desserts as well as fruit juices and sports drinks.

Lack of activity is a factor in childhood weight gain. If your child is inactive and spends too much time on sedentary activities like watching TV, they can gain weight as they do not burn many calories.

Psychological factors can be an issue as stressed or bored children often eat to cope with their emotions. They may have picked up bad habits from their parents as well.

How Can I Tell If My Child Is a Healthy Weight?

If your child’s weight concerns you because it is either under or over the normal percentile, you should see a health practitioner.

The BMI for children is not used as a diagnostic tool. Still, it will give a medical professional the information required to make an accurate diagnosis about your child’s current health status.

They will then advise you as to the next steps regarding improving their diet and overall nutritional health.

Can You Use an Adult BMI Calculator to Determine a Child’s BMI?

No. An adult BMI calculator is not designed to calculate a BMI for a child.

It does not factor in the percentile information required to give an accurate result. It will only return a BMI value that will not be accurate for a person under the age of 18.

How Can Two Children Have the Same BMI Values but Different Weight Statuses?

It depends on their age. If you have two children of different ages with the same BMI, they will fall into different percentiles.

For example, if you have a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old boy, both with a BMI of 23.

The boy of 10 would be considered in the 95th percentile for his age and therefore obese.

However, the 15-year-old would be considered healthy as his BMI would fall in the 75th percentile for his age.

My BMI Is High. What Can I Do?

The best way to reduce your BMI is to lose weight. To do this, you need to decrease your calorie intake and increase the amount of activity you do on a daily basis.

Please speak with a nutritionist or your medical practitioner, as they will be able to provide you with advice on the best way to reduce your daily caloric intake.

Adult and Child BMI: Know the difference

It is important to be aware that adult and child BMI are not the same measurements. An adult BMI is a single value that can be used as a diagnostic tool for weight-related illnesses.

A Child BMI is a percentile that will help your medical professional make an accurate judgment about how your child’s weight is developing.

Both are powerful tools for making sure that we stay fit and healthy during our childhood and remain so in our later years as well.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider reading another right here on our blog.

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