BMI and Stature Categories

BMI and stature categories of growth based on the 2000 CDC Growth Charts include underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obesity, severe obesity, and short stature.

Percentiles are used to rank an individual or a group on a growth chart and indicate where either fits in the context of the reference population.

The definitions of each growth category using the CDC Growth Charts are listed below:

The definitions of each growth category using the CDC Growth Charts
Anthropometric Index BMI or Stature Range Growth Category
BMI-for-age < 5th Percentile Underweight
BMI-for-age 5th Percentile to <85th Percentile Healthy Weight
BMI-for-age ≥85th Percentile to <95th Percentile Overweight
BMI-for-age ≥ 95th Percentile Obesity
BMI-for-age ≥120% of the 95th Percentile or ≥35 kg/m2 Severe Obesity
Stature-for-age < 5th Percentile Short Stature*

Current obesity prevalence estimates for children and teens in the United States can be found here.

*WHO Expert Committee, Physical Status: The use and interpretation of anthropometry. World Health Organization. 1995.

An appropriate reference population, accurate measurements and age calculations are important factors when assessing childhood growth. Comparing body measurements to the appropriate age and sex specific growth chart enables pediatric health care providers to monitor growth and identify potential health or nutrition related problems.

For detailed information on using the 2000 CDC growth charts, the instruction guide on Use and Interpretation of the CDC Growth Charts [PDF – 324KB] provides six steps to follow.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight provides pediatricians and other health care providers with the latest clinical information, as well as tools and resources to support health care professionals in effectively addressing obesity prevention, assessment, and treatment at the point of care.

 Top of Page

Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity