Visual Assessment Versus Calculation of BMI

How accurately can you screen for overweight or obesity in children by looking?

It is very difficult to distinguish children who are classified as overweight or obese from those classified as having a healthy weight by observation. In childhood, the distinction is made more difficult by age-related physiological variations (Poskitt, 1995).Take a look at three photos of preschool-aged children to see how accurately you can screen for overweight or obesity in children solely by looking at them. We want you to try to identify children classified as overweight (BMI-for-age ≥85th and <95th percentile), obese (BMI-for-age ≥95th percentile) or healthy weight (BMI-for age 5th to <85th percentile).

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3