Information for Preteens: Body Mass Index
Most people worry about how much they weigh – young and old alike. Some worry about obesity, being too overweight. Among teens in the United States, obesity is a serious problem effecting many youth. Too much body fat can lead to serious health conditions, including diabetes and heart problems.
On the other end are those who worry so much that they starve themselves. Eating disorders are a major problem among preteens – especially among girls.
You should consult your doctor if you have problems with either obesity or eating disorders to get help now.
What is a Healthy Weight?
Most adults can tell if they are overweight by using the Body Mass Index (also known as BMI). It is a way of estimating how much body fat you should have, based on your height and weight. There are many BMI calculators on the Internet for finding an "adult" BMI score.
However, in teens, the body mass index is used differently by your doctor to tell if you are underweight, overweight, or at risk for being overweight. Body fatness changes over the years as you grow. Also, girls and boys differ in their body fatness as they mature.
This is why BMI for kids and teens, also referred to as BMI-for-age, is gender and age specific.
Your physician can tell you what your weight should be based on your gender, age, height, and weight. If you need to lose or gain some weight, your doctor can provide guidance on changing your weight safely.
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Derek Chan, college student writer
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
GirlsHealth.gov, National Women's Health Information Center.
Be a Fit Kid, Kidshealth.org.
Body Mass Index (BMI), Kidshealth.org.
For More Information:
See our Nutrition and Fitness article.
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Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013