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Old 08-27-2012, 05:47 PM   #1
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Default BMI charts and their flaws

My two sons today are pictured in my blog.

My oldest is turning 16 in 2 days. He's 6'2" and weighs 140 pounds. That fits within the normal BMI range (though on the lower end). He LOOKS right though. He's thin, but not sickly skinny.

My younger son is 7 years and 4 months and weighs 81 pounds and is 54" tall (4.5 feet exactly). Hearing that you would think chubby kid. BMI charts say he is obese.

http://melissaslife42.blogspot.com/2...of-school.html

Take a look. Is that obese? Not in my eye and not in his doctor's eye either. But people continually get sucked into this mindset that they have to fit in these parameters.


What if I were to buy into these numbers? Would if my son did and thought he was fat because he weighed 81 pounds? UGH.... I hate those stupid charts.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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You're little guy isn't obese at all! That is ridiculous!
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:26 PM   #3
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I just ran my 14-year-old son's height (5/10"), weight (105 lbs) and age through the CDC's child/teen BMI calculator, and this is the message I got:

"Based on the height and weight entered, the BMI is 15.1 , placing the BMI-for-age below the 1st percentile for boys aged 14 years 8 months. This teen is underweight and should be seen by a healthcare provider for further assessment to determine possible causes of underweight."

Like your son, mine has a slender build and (I believe) light bones. He looks slim, but not skinny, and is well proportioned. So I'm ignoring the message. His doctor certainly doesn't seem concerned.

F.

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Old 08-27-2012, 06:51 PM   #4
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The BMI in children IS NOT DIAGNOSTIC for obesity... It is used as a screening tool by healthcare professionals that then requires ADDITIONAL assessments e.g. body fat analysis, skin caliper measurements, etc. to diagnose childhood obesity...

Check out the BMI and children section of the CDC website... they do a pretty good job of explaining it... and it should put your mind at ease...

Oh... and for what it's worth... Your kids look pretty happy and healthy to me... So I say to you "Way to go Mom" whatever you're doing... Keep up the good work...
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:34 PM   #5
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Your younger son is carrying a little extra bodyfat, sure, especially compared to his brother, but his frame is MUCH bigger and more dense, too. I'd say they both look very healthy and happy, just built differently. The BMI isn't a great diagnostic tool even for a room of adults, but given the variability in maturity and growth of children, it's absolutely bunk!

Keep it up Melissa, they look great. You've got to know when to take medical diagnostics seriously and when to ignore them, I'd say this sinks firmly into the 'ignore!' column
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:57 PM   #6
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They both look healthy and happy to me!
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SacredKestrel View Post
The BMI in children IS NOT DIAGNOSTIC for obesity... It is used as a screening tool by healthcare professionals that then requires ADDITIONAL assessments e.g. body fat analysis, skin caliper measurements, etc. to diagnose childhood obesity...

Check out the BMI and children section of the CDC website... they do a pretty good job of explaining it... and it should put your mind at ease...

Oh... and for what it's worth... Your kids look pretty happy and healthy to me... So I say to you "Way to go Mom" whatever you're doing... Keep up the good work...
I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arctic Mama View Post
Your younger son is carrying a little extra bodyfat, sure, especially compared to his brother, but his frame is MUCH bigger and more dense, too. I'd say they both look very healthy and happy, just built differently. The BMI isn't a great diagnostic tool even for a room of adults, but given the variability in maturity and growth of children, it's absolutely bunk!

Keep it up Melissa, they look great. You've got to know when to take medical diagnostics seriously and when to ignore them, I'd say this sinks firmly into the 'ignore!' column
My younger son we do have to watch as he tends to pudge up - usually around a growth spurt and then grows into the weight. Doesn't help that he's high functioning autistic and that his low muscle tone makes movement less efficient and more tiring. BUT... no, he isn't obese.

My husband was always slightly pudgy like that as a kid (even more than my younger son). As an adult he's never had a weight problem. He's now 6'1" and 170 and all LEAN mass.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:06 PM   #9
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Our pediatrician uses it as a tool, but not the only tool, to assess obesity in children. Visually they look fine and I wouldn't worry. We were sent to the doctor because my daughter was "too thin" and the nurse was worried about a health or eating disorder. Obviously she's had her weight and height tracked since birth, mostly through the same doctor except one time she had a visit with a different one. His concern he said would be more if she shot up or gained or lossed a tremendous amount, but he said you're petite...your daughter will be too not surprisingly.

I think a lot of adults worry too much about numbers. I think BMI and weight do help assess our risks, but they aren't to be used solely. JMO.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY
LOL yeah that's what I was trying to say, don't ignore them, but don't live solely based on them!
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY
Tell me about it... I still sometimes hold on to the idea that once I get into the "Normal" BMI for my ht & wt that I can breathe a sigh of relief... That I'll be off the ledge and not about to go over the cliff into the abyss of obesity (oh God! Not that...! Please God anything but that...) But really.... I know myself...and for me BMI is a slippery slope... I mean if getting to 24 is good... Well than wouldn't getting to 19 be even BETTER? I mean wouldn't a BMI of 19 just be ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC for me?

Well the problem with that is I'm expecting that once I'm "thin" all my problems will magically be solved and my life will be just perfect... Well unfortunately life doesn't seem to work that way... At least for me anyway...

Now I'd better put my money where my mouth is.... and go change my goal weight...
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:09 PM   #12
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Your kids look great!

It's also easy to see how differently they're built. It's also fascinating how different we can all be

Quote:
Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
I know that. You know that, but people live by these numbers. I see it here all the time. DRIVES ME CRAZY
Yeah totally! I remember when I was expressing worry about whether or not I might have gotten too thin and everyone said: "don't worry, you're at a healthy weight." I got so annoyed; maybe it wasn't healthy for me! Just because I'm 5'3" doesn't mean I'm automatically healthy if I'm in the 104-140lb range.

As it was I got down to 107 at one point and it was too thin for me—even though that's still within the healthy weight range. It's only 5 pounds, but I'm SO MUCH BETTER where I am now.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #13
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I don't think he looks overweight - definitely not obese. However, if he's anything like my son (who is probably aspergers but not diagnosed) we'll have to watch it it as they get older. If they're not into sports, or have any sort of motivation for fitness, it's only a matter of time before the weight starts to come on.

BTW - your older son looks just like you imo.

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Old 08-27-2012, 09:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sontaikle View Post
Your kids look great!

It's also easy to see how differently they're built. It's also fascinating how different we can all be



Yeah totally! I remember when I was expressing worry about whether or not I might have gotten too thin and everyone said: "don't worry, you're at a healthy weight." I got so annoyed; maybe it wasn't healthy for me! Just because I'm 5'3" doesn't mean I'm automatically healthy if I'm in the 104-140lb range.

As it was I got down to 107 at one point and it was too thin for me—even though that's still within the healthy weight range. It's only 5 pounds, but I'm SO MUCH BETTER where I am now.
It is true - there are RANGES. From pictures I've seen of you - you look fine. People just get fixated on the numbers.

My husband got down to 153 when we were dating. He liked that weight, but he was just too thin. Like long distance runner thin which is just SKINNY. But probably still OK.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:00 PM   #15
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That is definitely not an obese boy. He looks healthy- not super skinny, but healthy.
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