Have you ever calculated your child’s body mass index (BMI)? I mean, we do check our children’s weight from time to time – that is what the bathroom scales are for. We also measure their heights regularly – look at those markings on the wall. We need to in order to buy the the right clothes size. Right from the start, my husband had an Excel sheet where he entered our kids’ measurements and can even generate graphs with the data. But BMI? Well, BMI is calculated from the weight and height data. Simply divide the body weight by the square of height. I know, it is not as easy as it looks. That is why I checked out on the Internet the sites that give the best tools for calculating BMI.
But wait, why do we have to check our children’s BMI?
Because studies have shown that parents tend to misjudge their children’s weight, thus, probably overlooking their children’s risk for obesity. What we might dismiss as “baby fat” are the beginnings of excess weight that might not be easy to shed off as time goes by. The thing that makes our cherubic baby so cute may be detrimental to his/her health.
So when do we start to closely monitor our children’s weight?
Right from the start! Okay, in the first months of a baby’s life, we regularly go to the paediatrician where we get introduced to the growth curves. But as our kids grow older, the visits to the doctor become less frequent and of course, we lose sight of the growth curve. So did I, despite the Excel sheet.
But why do we have to worry so early?
A recent report in the New York Times says:
More and more evidence points to pivotal events very early in life — during the toddler years, infancy and even before birth, in the womb — that can set young children on an obesity trajectory that is hard to alter by the time they’re in kindergarten. The evidence is not ironclad, but it suggests that prevention efforts should start very early.
How to I check?
Now back to BMI. Here are the sites I found most user-friendly and easy to use, yet give clear and reliable information. You see, it is not just the calculations but also the units of measure, the sex and the age of the child that should be taken into consideration.
The NHS healthy weight calculator can calculate BMI with English or metric units of measure and gives a nice graph that shows exactly where your BMI stand (underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obese).
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH also has a tool for both units of measure.
Please check your child’s BMI. You might be surprised at the results. Or relieved!
The calculators are not only for kids. They are for everybody!
There are others out there. If you find one you like, please share it with us!