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Fixed bedtime, sufficient sleep may lead to healthier teens

Youths with age-appropriate bedtimes at age 9 had longer self-reported sleep duration and lower body mass index at age 15, compared with those who didn’t have bedtime routines, researchers reported in the journal Sleep. The findings also associated optimal bedtime and sleep routines in childhood with adequate sleep duration in adolescence.

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How to Calculate Your Child’s BMI

Your child’s BMI is an important tool that you can use to determine if your child is overweight, underweight, or at a healthy weight.

That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended routine screening and tracking of BMI in all children once they are about two years old.

BMI

BMI is calculated with a child’s height and weight using a simple formula, a BMI calculator, or by looking it up on a BMI wheel or BMI tables. Although it doesn’t measure body fat, BMI can be used to determine if a child is overweight.

BMI is usually thought of as a tool that is used in treating children who are overweight, however, it can also help determine if children are underweight if they have a low BMI.

Understanding BMI

Interpreting BMI is a bit more complicated for children than adults since you also have to take into account the child’s age to figure out the percentile ranking for that BMI. This BMI percentile can then help you determine if a child is overweight or at a healthy weight.

To calculate your child’s BMI, you need to:

  1. measure his weight (pounds)
  2. measure his height (inches)
  3. calculate his BMI by dividing your child’s weight by his height squared and multiplying the total by a conversion factor of 703

BMI formula = (weight / (height x height)) x 703

Alternatively, using metric measurements, you would:

  1. measure his weight (kilograms)
  2. measure his height (meters)
  3. calculate his BMI by dividing his weight by his height squared

BMI formula (metric) = weight / (height x height)

You now have to figure out your child’s BMI percentile to see what his BMI actually means:

  • Find the age and sex appropriate BMI chart for your child
  • Plot your child’s BMI on the BMI chart
  • Figure out your child’s BMI category

BMI Categories for Kids

Once you have calculated your child’s BMI and found their percentile, you can figure out if they are:

  • Underweight – BMI less than the 5th percentile
  • Healthy Weight – BMI 5th percentile up to the 85th percentile
  • Overweight – BMI 85th to less than the 95th percentile
  • Obese – BMI greater than or equal to the 95th percentile

Since these categories depend on your child’s age, two kids can have the same BMI and be in different categories.

Other tools to help you figure out if your child is overweight and calculate your child’s BMI and BMI percentiles include:

U.S. Youth Obesity Rates Hold Steady

Adopted from HealthDay News

Although obesity rates continued to climb among U.S. adults over the past decade, they have stabilized for children and teens.

More than 36 percent of adults and 17 percent of America’s kids were obese between 2011 and 2014, said researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These are the latest years for which national statistics are available.

Adult obesity rates climbed from slightly over 32 percent in 2003-04 to almost 38 percent by 2013-14, said lead researcher Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Among youths aged 2 to 19, she said, 17.2 percent of children were obese in 2014, compared with 17.1 percent in 2003. “There is basically no difference [in the obesity rate in this group],” she said.

Obesity is a major cause of chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, dementia and arthritis, said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, in New Haven, Conn.

Widespread efforts to encourage people to eat healthy and exercise may be having a positive effect, Katz said.

For the report, researchers used data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Other key findings for 2011-2014:

  • More women (about 38 percent) were obese than men (about 34 percent). No gender difference was observed among children and teens.
  • Obesity was higher among middle-aged (about 40 percent) and older (37 percent) adults than younger adults (about 32 percent).
  • More whites, blacks and Hispanics were obese than Asians.
  • Nearly 9 percent of preschoolers were obese, versus more than 17 percent of kids aged 6 to 11. Among teens, more than 20 percent were obese.

Adult obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is a calculation of body fat based on height and weight. For example, someone 5 feet 9 inches who weighs 203 pounds or more has a BMI of 30. Among youth, a BMI in the 95th percentile or higher for their age and sex was deemed obese, the CDC said.

More information

For more on obesity, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.