• Weight-for-height indexes are often used in the clinical assessment of obesity in children and adolescents. The direct measurement of adiposity, using hydrostatic weighing and other techniques, is not feasible in studies involving young children or with large numbers of older subjects. Ratios of weight relative to height, such as the body-mass index (weight/height2), may be used as indirect measures of obesity and correlate with more direct measures of adiposity. Using data from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, 1971 to 1974, standardized percentile curves of body-mass index for white children and adolescents were developed. These curves may be used to monitor the body-mass index of white children and adolescents longitudinally and for comparing an individual with others of the same sex and age.
Hammer LD, Kraemer HC, Wilson DM, Ritter PL, Dornbusch SM. Standardized Percentile Curves of Body-Mass Index for Children and Adolescents. Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(3):259-263. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160030027015