- A child is considered overweight if her BMI is at or above the 85th percentile (but below the 95th percentile).
Because kids’ growth patterns are different from adults, a child’s BMI can’t be directly compared to an adult’s. Special BMI-for-age charts help doctors know which kids are at risk. So do growth patterns over time, and so does questions doctors may ask about diet and fitness, such as:
- How often do you eat out? Do you eat fast food?
- How often do you drink soda, fruit juice, or other sweet beverages?
- Do you eat breakfast? What do you eat?
- How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat each day?
- How much time each day do you spend doing physical activities? Do you have a safe place to play outside?
- How about sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing video games?
If the BMI, the lifestyle questions, and/or family medical history raise a red flag, the doctor may order follow-up lab tests, such as a lipid profile (which checks the level of cholesterol in the blood), and recommend lifestyle changes for the whole family or other treatments.