Defining "Overweight and Obese"

Robert Markowitz, MD, Attending Physician, the OWL Program

  • A generally accepted though not infallible method of describing the nutritional status of children > 2 years of age
    and adults is a number called the body mass index or “BMI."
  • It is a ratio of body weight (in kilograms) to height (in meters squared). 
  • Those who provide health care to children and adolescents use standard growth curves which indicate the percentiles for height, weight and BMI.
  • If your child’s BMI is between the 85-94% on the BMI standard curve, they are considered “overweight."
  • If their BMI is at or above the 95% on the BMI standard curve, then they would be considered “obese."
  • The BMI is just one of a number of ways your child’s progress in OWL will be monitored.
  • There are BMI calculators available online that you can use. Here is a link to one: Center for Disease Control's (CDC) BMI calculator
  • Your OWL medical provider is happy to discuss and answer any questions you may have about your child’s BMI as well as any health concerns related to their weight, including whether there may be an underlying medical condition, do they have diabetes mellitus, etc..