Calculating BMI in Children

Calculating BMI in Children

A reader asks about how to calculate his child's BMI. Dr Nancy Tan from SBCC shares some insights. The Ask the Doctor platform is proudly sponsored by Pfizer


Question from Reader:
How do you calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) of a 2 year old? I am aware that BMI ratings for Asian adults are different from westerners. Does this apply to children as well?

Answer from Dr Nancy Tan:

Body Mass Index or BMI is a measurement used to calculate whether or not a person is underweight, overweight or obese based on their weight and height. Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing a person’s body weight by their height squared; however there are variations based on the age of the person and their race.

Due to different body types, it is recommended that the overweight threshold for South East Asians is lowered compared to Western counterparts. In addition, BMI is measured differently amongst children than adults. The calculation remains the same but the comparison to determine a healthy weight range, is made with children of the same sex and age rather than the general population.

With all of these factors in mind, BMI can be a complicated measure for you to use at home when trying to determine if your child is within a healthy weight range. If you are concerned your child is over or under weight, you should consult your family doctor who will be able to advise.

Answered by: Dr Nancy Tan, SBCC Baby and Child Clinic

About Dr Nancy Tan:

Dr Nancy Tan is a Consultant Paediatrician with more than 16 years of experience in the care of children, especially with chronic liver and gut diseases. Trained in the Paediatric Liver Centre, King’s College London, Dr Tan currently works at SBCC Baby & Child Clinic at Gleneagles Medical Centre, and is also a visiting consultant to the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital


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