CDC expands BMI charts for severely overweight children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new body mass index charts for children on Thursday in response to the growing obesity crisis in the US.

The previous BMI chart for children ages 2 to 19, published in 2000, is based on data from 1963 to 1980, but obesity and severe obesity in children have increased significantly since the 1980s. More 4.5 million children and adolescents were severely obese in 2018, according to the CDC.

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BMI is calculated using a mathematical formula that measures body fat, usually by dividing an individual’s height by their weight. For adults, a healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, or 111 pounds. at about 150 pounds. for someone who is 5’5″. At 5’10”, a healthy BMI is between 129 lbs. and 175 pounds. For adults 20 and older, a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

The previous charts for children did not go beyond a BMI of 37. The new charts extend up to a BMI of 60 and measure whether you are within healthy parameters based on a percentile measured against other children in the same age and sex.

“Prior to today’s release, the growth charts were not extended enough to represent BMI for the growing number of children with severe obesity,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

BMI for children up to age 20 goes along a sliding range, depending on age and gender. According to the new guidelines, a healthy BMI for children can range from about 13 to about 17 for a 6-year-old girl or boy to a range of 18 to about 26 for a 20-year-old years. woman

The expanded charts will help health care providers work with families to treat children with obesity, Hacker said. BMI charts from the year 2000 will still be used for children who are not obese, according to the CDC.

Obesity has increased significantly among children over the past 40 years. During the four-year period ending in 1980, 5.5 percent of children ages 2 to 19 were obese, and 1.3 percent were severely obese. In 2018, 19.3% of children were obese and 6.1% were severely obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

According to the CDC, childhood obesity is defined as a BMI greater than 95% of children of the same age and sex. Severe obesity is a BMI that is 120% higher than the 95th percentile.

Although children’s BMI is calculated using the same formula as adults, a healthy weight is measured relative to other children of the same age and sex. This is because children’s height and weight can vary significantly as they grow.

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