The proportion of weight gain in children can be interpreted by calculating their body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated using a child’s height and weight. The calculated BMI is then compared to national references of children of the same age and gender to determine a child’s BMI percentiles. This is different than the process used for adults because a child’s body composition and growth patterns vary by age and gender.

The following definitions apply for children and teenagers ages 2-19:

  • Overweight: A BMI at or above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender.
  • Obesity: A BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender.

Determine your child's BMI and learn more with these tools and resources:

Health Risks

There is a number of health risks associated with being overweight or obese, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Lipid abnormalities
  • Impaired glucose regulation leading to type 2 diabetes
  • Breathing problems like sleep apnea and asthma
  • Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Fatty liver disease and heartburn
  • Social and psychological problems
  • Obesity continuing into adulthood


Children who are obese or overweight are cared for by our specialists in the Wellness and Weight Management Program. The program provides compassionate and comprehensive outpatient care for families of children and teenagers who are overweight or obese and want to make healthy lifestyle changes. Learn how to make an appointment.