BMI Data Collection

BMI Data Collection

ESHC has developed a standardized BMI data collection method so that students in local schools can be measured in a systematic, safe, and anonymous way to identify the percentage of students in each weight category.  ESHC provides training, technical assistance and equipment to school personnel who actually weigh students and collect the measurements electronically in a data base.  The data base is then de-identified (all student identifiable information removed, like name) and ESHC analyzes the data to report the percentage of students who are underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese.  The data is useful to track outcomes of community obesity prevention interventions.


BMI is a common measurement used to estimate a person’s risk of weight-related health problems due to body fat is the Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI is the ratio of an individual’s weight in kilograms to height squared (kg/m2). It is not a direct measure of body fat but it correlates with body fat.  It is the most widely used measure of weight-related health risk because direct measures of body fat (e.g. skin fold measures, underwater weighing) are more invasive and costly. A BMI measurement is relatively easy, inexpensive, noninvasive and quick.  BMI measurement for children and youth, called BMI-for-age, compares a child’s BMI to other youth of the same sex and age in a reference population. It uses data based on sex and age to account for childhood growth changes and the differences in growth experienced by boys and girls.  BMI growth charts can be found at

The four weight categories are:

Obese  >95th percentile for age
Overweight  > 85th percentile and <95th percentile
Normal  >5th percentile and <85th percentile
Underweight <5th percentile

Obesity is the condition of excess body fat which can lead to such health risks as elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, or insulin levels; high blood pressure; sleep apnea; orthopedic complications; and mental health problems.


This initiative has been funded by Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics. Work Group Chair is Patti Kiger (Eastern Virginia Medical School)