Baby

Is Your Baby Underweight or Overweight - Body Mass Index (BMI)


If you are worried about whether your baby is growing at an optimum rate, you need to find out for sure to get peace of mind. BMI or Body Mass Index will tell you whether your baby’s weight is right in comparison to his age, height, and other factors. BMI is essentially an estimate of the body fat depending on an individual’s height and weight.

What are the risks of having a baby who is overweight or underweight?

People may tell you that the baby appears to be chubby, but that is not what is going to clear your doubt. At a time when the numbers of obese kids are on the rise and the incidence of juvenile diabetes and other illnesses among children keep growing, you know how important it is to keep a tab on his growth rate.

On the other hand, when you fear that your kid may be underweight, you need to confirm this as well because an underweight baby also poses many health risks:

  • Such kids are likely to be suffering from malnutrition, and may have anemia and vitamin deficiencies.
  • The baby may develop osteoporosis because of the lack of sufficient calcium and vitamin D.
  • They may have reduced immunity functions.
  • They may face acute development and growth problems as children and then as teenagers.

This is exactly why one often wonders how to know if your baby is underweight or overweight. The best way to calculate this is to calculate the child’s BMI. There are special BMI calculators for kids that are available online. You will need to type in the gender, data of birth, weight and height of your kid and the calculator will then tell you what the BMI is.

The BMI is meant for calculating the fat content in both girls and boys as they keep growing older. There will be separate charts for girls and boys. A BMI calculator for children will work differently from the one which calculates BMI for grown-ups.

Healthcare professionals use a particular percentile cut-off to see whether your baby is underweight or overweight. Typically, underweight kids are below 5th percentile and kids that are overweight have BMI between 85th-95Th percentiles. The ones who cross the 95th percentile will be declared as overweight and they are at great risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.

While the BMI calculator can be your best bet for finding out whether you child’s weight is within the normal range, it is always better to consult your child’s doctor for advice since the growth rates of kids will vary. The BMI will come down during a child’s pre-school years, but it will again increase when he steps into adulthood. The percentile curve will show the growth pattern. So, if you find that your kid has a BMI that places him above the 95Th percentile depending on his gender, age, height, and weight, you have to watch out for signs of diabetes. If it is 85% and higher, you must ask your doctor whether you need to get him tested for Type 2 diabetes.



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