Body Mass Index (BMI) Measurement in Schools – Safeguard 5

Safeguard 5. Ensure that the BMI number is calculated and interpreted correctly.

The English formula for calculating BMI is:

{Weight (lb) ÷ [Height (in)]2} × 703

Schools can establish the BMI-for-age percentile using the CDC growth charts.1 Staff must collect the student’s correct age in years and months as well as their gender to properly plot the BMI on the CDC growth charts. Schools conducting BMI screening programs can refer youth categorized as underweight, overweight, and obese to a medical care provider for diagnosis and possible weight management counseling.


CDC’s About BMI for Children and Teens

Source: Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinold C, Thompson D, Grummer-Strawn L. Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools. Journal of School Health. 2007; 77:651-671.


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  1. Kuczmarski RJ, Ogden CL, Grummer-Strawn LM, et al. CDC growth charts: United States. Adv Data. 2000;(314):1-28.