Thursday, September 02, 2010

Doctor is my Child too Fat?: New BMI-for-age cut offs for children

Actually, not many parents come to the clinic worrying that their kids are too fat.  Most parents come to the clinic complaining that their kids are not eating well and are too thin.

I think that there needs to be a fundamental change in the thinking of parents concerning their children's weight.  In many Asian cultures, fat is seen to be good because traditionally, food is scarce, so only those who are really well off can afford to feed their kids well.  So fat kids are seen as a sign of properity.  However, in Singapore now, we are seeing an epidemic of kids who are really too fat.  Obese kids who grow up to be obese adults who run the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels etc.

The Health Promotion Board has recently released new BMI for age charts which I have uploaded here on the website.  BMI is short for Body Mass Index and it is a way to determine if your child is over or underweight.  But unlike adults, kids of different age groups have different BMI ranges.  So that is why in order to find out if your child is indeed overweight, you need to first work out his BMI and then compare it on the BMI for age percentile chart.

So here is how to use the BMI for age charts:

Here is the chart for boys.:

Here is the Chart for Girls:

Once you have worked out the percentile you child is in, use this next chart to determine if he is over or underweight.  Then see what is the suggested advise for your child.

More information on

If you are concerned about your child's weight, do visit the clinic for a checkup.  Some kids are overweight because of underlying problems and these need to be excluded.

Reference: Understanding and Using BMI for age charts:  HPB, August 2010