Obesity Chart

Understanding the Obesity Chart Number

Once a person has determined their BMI, the next step is to interpret the results.  Interpretation of the BMI results is different for adults and children under the age of 20.
 
For adults 20 years and older, the BMI results are interpreted using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages and for both men and women. The standard weight status categories associated with the BMI results for adults are shown in the following table.
 
BMI
Weight Status
Below 18.5
Underweight
18.5 – 24.9
Normal
25.0 – 29.9
Overweight
30.0 and above
Obese
 
The obesity chart provides only the BMI number, not the BMI age- and sex-specific percentile that is used to interpret BMI and determine the weight category for children and teens. It is not appropriate to use the BMI categories for adults to interpret numbers for children and teens. Instead, for children and teens, after determining the BMI, the number is plotted on the BMI-for-age growth charts (for either girls or boys) to obtain a percentile ranking. The percentile indicates the relative position of the child's BMI number among children of the same sex and age.
 
(Click BMI Calculator for Children to have the BMI plotted.)
 
BMI-for-age weight status categories and the corresponding percentiles are shown in the following table.
 
Weight Status Category
Percentile Range
Underweight
Less than the 5th percentile
Healthy weight
5th percentile up to the 85th percentile
At risk of overweight
85th to less than the 95th percentile
Overweight
Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile

 

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