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95210: The Zip Code to a Healthy Weight

Have you ever wondered what is a healthy weight for a child? Did you know that it depends.  Since children are supposed to gain weight and height as they age, there isn’t a set number for children. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a screening tool used to distinguish if someone is at a healthy and unhealthy weight. The standard charts for BMI rely on the age and sex of the child to know what percentile the child is in. A healthy weight is defined by a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the 5th - 85th percentile on standard growth charts. While any child over the 85th to 94th percentile is considered overweight and any child at or above the 95th percentile is considered obese. 


Overweight and obese children are at higher risk of co-morbid diseases at weight increases.  These comorbid conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. As a result, it is important for children to have and maintain a healthy weight. There are some proven ways to maintain a healthy weight. Use 95210 as a way to remember the key numbers. 


  • 9 hours of sleep at night 

  • 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day 

  • 2 hours or less or screen time per day

  • 1 hours of exercise per day

  • 0 sugary beverages including soda and juice

  • Also, breastfeeding for the first year of life




Of course, like any screening tool, there are limitations. BMI is a great screener, but can not distinguish between weight from muscle and fat. Of course, increasing weight due to muscle mass does not increase the risk of comorbid conditions but increased fat mass does. 


Overall, using the 95210 can be a beneficial reminder of healthy habits to establish to have, obtain or even maintain a healthy weight. And of course if you have questions or concerns about your child’s weight, it is important to speak with their primary care provider to find the best way or techniques to address the concern. 



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