Identifying unhealthy weight

This module is under development. Below is a brief overview of what it will include:

Identifying unhealthy weight in pre-school children

Module aim:

This module aims to equip practitioners with knowledge and confidence in using recommended growth charts (e.g. BMI, height, weight) to identify unhealthy weight in pre-school children

Learning objectives

By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • explain BMI and how BMI centiles are used to diagnose weight issues in children;
  • use WHO BMI conversion charts to identify whether a child is healthy weight, underweight or overweight;
  • explain sensitively to parents how healthy their child’s weight is in relation to other children of their age and sex;
  • understand, and explain to parents, the recommended approach to weight management for children aged 2-4 years who are over- or underweight[WP1] ; and

identify factors to consider when determining where and who to refer to (including signs and symptoms of genetic conditions).


Diagnosing unhealthy weight issues in children.   This section will cover what BMI is, how child BMI centiles work and how they are used to diagnose over- and under-weight in children.    We will also discuss the perils of using visual assessment and other factors that need to be considered when assessing BMI in children (e.g. fat distribution, family lifestyle and ethnicity).  

Weight management recommendations for children aged 2-4 years.  This section will cover the recommended approaches to managing weight for children aged 2-4 years, such as growth trajectories (weight and height), diet and physical activity.  

Using WHO 0-4 BMI conversion charts. This section will explain the WHO 0-4 BMI conversion charts and how to read these to identify whether a child is healthy weight, underweight or over-weight.   Links for purchasing the charts will be provided.

Talking through growth/BMI charts with parents. This section will include guidance for explaining to parents how healthy their child’s weight is and how to manage this.   It will draw on the communication skills learned in module 1 and will include an example video to demonstrate how information can be put across sensitively yet clearly.