Should We Check Childrens’ BMI?

For National Childhood Obesity Week (4 -10 July 2011), NHS Choices, the health information website for the NHS, is asking parents to to check their child’s body mass index (BMI) and take a more proactive approach to managing their child’s weight.

I’ve used the checker (which you can visit here: and it says that one of my boys (who are both under 7 stone and are aged 9 & 11) just scrapes into the healthy section and the other is overweight! 

Here is a picture of the little monkeys – they look fine (for fine read perfect) to me.

Is allowing access to this information a good thing or a bad thing – should I now be putting them on a diet?

According to statistics from NHS Choices, three in 10 children in Britain are overweight or obese. Children who are overweight in childhood are more likely to become overweight adults. They are also at risk of developing serious health conditions that carrying excess weight can bring, such as diabetes.

Unlike most BMI checking tools, NHS Choices has an online BMI checker that is suitable for children aged two and above. Parents or guardians simply need to provide details about the sex, age, height and weight of their child and the tool will provide a percentile result informing the parent or guardian if their child is a healthy weight. For more information about managing children’s diet, health and fitness, whatever their BMI, then visit NHS Choices. If parents or guardians are very concerned about their child’s weight, they should visit their GP.