KEYS TO A HEALTHIER ME
Activity · Intake
Fitness · Sleep
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This calculator helps you estimate your Health Status . Please note that this calculator works for children between 3 and 20 years of age.
Using your age, weight, height and body circumferences makes it
possible to calculate indexes of obesity and body fat. Identifying activity categories helps
estimate the amount of energy (Calories) you burn daily. Reviewing your daily eating patterns helps
you learn about energy balance.
Start by filling in the info below, then click the Submit button. Circumferences are optional but will give you more accurate results. Explore the Energy and Meal tabs to see how much energy your body uses each day and to learn about energy balance.
Basic growth parameters like height and weight are listed below, along with percentiles that help identify your relative position on growth curves. Basic health parameters like BMI and Percent Fat are also listed, providing a snapshot of your current Health Status.
But keep in mind that BMI is not a diagnostic tool and does not directly measure body fat. Very athletic kids can have a high BMI-for-age due to extra muscle mass, not necessarily excess body fat. To determine if excess fat is a problem, a health care provider would need to perform further tests. It's important that children with a BMI-percentile-for-age over the 85th percentile be evaluated by a health professional. Learn More
This calculator can estimate percent fat. That percentage can then be associated with a health category based on body fat limits suggested for pediatric populations. BMI and Percent Fat outcomes may not always agree since they work with different body components. Learn More
Height and weight percentiles can help you understand why BMI is high or low, and why body fat may be elevated. A weight percentile that is higher than a height percentile will increase BMI. It is important to then understand what may be causing the excess weight. Learn More
Now that you know your growth and body composition status, learn about physical activity.
Explore theto see how activities can affect your energy expenditure.
Energy expenditure is the amount of energy your body uses to carry out physical functions. It is affected by your body size and composition, by food intake and by physical activity. Review the Activity Sliders below and adjust those to see how your activities affect the energy your body uses each day. Make sure to submit the form values first to get meaningful results.
Activity: The amount of time you spend doing different activities
affects the Calories your body burns (uses) each day.
Sleep: Your body burns Calories during sleep. Getting the
proper amount of sleep each day helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sedentary Behavior: Your body burns far fewer Calories per minute then during active times. Aim for less than four sedentary hours per day sitting or lying down.
Light Activity: Try to spend more time in these activities than being sedentary. Walk or play rather than sit and watch electronics.
Moderate Activity: The best way to keep your body physically fit is to do moderate activity. Aim for sixty minutes a day of walking or practicing in sports. One hour of walking burns 3 to 6 times more Calories than sitting.
Vigorous Activity: These activities help increase your fitness level. Along with Moderate Activity aim for more than 60 minutes every day. One hour of jogging or playing active sports burns 7 to 15 times more Calories than sitting. Learn More
Now that you see how much energy your body uses each day, learn how to balance your energy use with energy intake.
Explore theto see how eating patterns can affect your energy balance.
Identify portion sizes that best describe the amount of food you eat each day to see how close you are to Energy Balance . Try to balance the amount of Calories you burn (ENERGY OUT) with the amount of food you eat (ENERGY IN) for a balance meter reading near zero.
What you eat and drink is ENERGY IN. What you burn
through physical activity is ENERGY OUT.
(Balance = ENERGY IN − ENERGY OUT)
Your ENERGY IN and OUT don't have to balance every day, but having a balance over time will help you maintain a consistent healthy weight.
Children need to balance their energy too, but they’re also growing and that should be considered as well. Energy balance in children happens when the amounts of ENERGY IN and ENERGY OUT support natural growth without promoting excess weight gain.
Age (years) and Expenditure (Daily Calories burned) values are calculated by submitting the form data. This will give you the most accurate estimate of energy needs for your age and activity levels. Alternatively, you may manually enter Age and Expenditure values below.
Enter your Expenditure (Daily Calories burned) value below. You may also wish to return to the Healthy Me Profile page and enter your activity levels to get a more accurate estimate of your energy needs.
Pick the box that best describes each meal size.
How many servings do you eat daily?
There are significant health benefits to getting at least 5 servings of a variety of
fruit and vegetables every day.
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
They are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can help prevent digestion problems.
Fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
A healthy, balanced diet includes fruits and vegetables. Learn More
If your balance was +200 Calories every day for a month you could gain
over one pound of excess fat.
The opposite is also true. If your balance was -200 Calories every day for a month you could lose over one pound of excess fat.
More detailed explanation here. Learn More
Overeating occasionally, like on holidays, shouldn't affect your overall weight. Learn More
Learn healthy eating habits to maintain a healthy weight. Learn More
The Portion Picker works with recommended calorie targets for different age groups. Children below age 5 generally eat smaller meals and snack more often. You may need to make sure to include snacks for these young children in order to balance the gauge.
Now that you've seen how you may balance your energy intake and output, learn about fitness.
Explore theto see how activities combine to estimate your fitness level.
Your estimated aerobic fitness level is based on your age, gender, body composition, and on how much activity and exercise you do each week. Your aerobic fitness level indicates the overall health of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
Play, Sport, and Exercise are three activities that help increase your aerobic fitness. How often (Frequency), how hard (Intensity), and how long (Time) you do each activity affects your estimated FITness. Both Sport and Exercise supersede Play in boosting FITness, especially at higher intensities. Age and percent body fat also affect your maximum FITness level, so there are circumstances where raising activity levels may not show an increase on the meter.
Aerobic exercise is important. It helps keep your heart, lungs, and blood vessels healthy. It can also help you keep or get to a healthy weight. To improve your fitness level increase your amount of time and intensity during sports and exercise.
Generally, fitness is assessed in four key areas: 1) aerobic fitness 2) muscular strength and endurance 3) flexibility, and 4) body composition.
Three kinds of fitness:
Aerobic fitness: Aerobic activities condition your heart and lungs. Aerobic means "with oxygen". The purpose of aerobic conditioning is to increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your muscles, which allows them to work longer. Any activity that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for an extended period of time will improve your aerobic conditioning.
Muscle strengthening: Stronger muscles can mean either more powerful muscles that can do bigger jobs (like lifting heavier weights) or muscles that will work longer before becoming exhausted (endurance). Weight training (resistance training) or simple exercises such as push-ups are two examples that target muscle strengthening.
Flexibility: Like aerobic fitness and muscle
strengthening, flexibility is a result of physical activity. Flexibility comes from
stretching. Your muscles are repeatedly shortened when they are used, especially
when exercising. They need to be slowly and regularly stretched to counteract the
repeated shortening that happens through other activities.
These tools are created and maintained by the Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) which houses laboratories of varied disciplines, a vast array of state-of-the-art equipment, a greenhouse, observation labs and accommodations for research volunteers, a metabolic kitchen, and an elite group of scientists conducting groundbreaking research. Visit the CNRC.
Volunteers make it happen! Nearly 13,000 Houston-area families have volunteered to participate in CNRC studies, helping to improve the nutritional wellbeing of children worldwide. Houston-area residents are invited to participate in the nutrition research projects designed to help our Children’s Nutrition Research Center scientists learn more about the nutritional needs of children.
Individual results, when compared to other children, can be affected by many factors such as the parents' body sizes and the child's level of physical maturity. Thus, this software should not be used for medical diagnostic or treatment purposes. Additionally, the authors and their affiliated institutions are not liable for any damages to users or third parties arising from the use of this software.
This software is protected under international copyright law. Unauthorized duplication or distribution is a violation of copyright. Entering this section of the web site implies acceptance of the conditions stated above.
For more information, please
The tools presented here are based on work done in-house at the Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, as well as on the following publications:
Shypailo R, Puyau M. Development of Fat‐Free Mass Prediction Models Focusing on Pediatric Obesity (2020), Poster Abstracts. Obesity, 28: 40-187. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.23063.
Kuczmarski RJ, Ogden CL, Grummer-Strawn LM, Flegal KM, Guo SS, Wei R, Mei Z, Curtin LR, Roche AF, Johnson CL. CDC growth charts: United States. Adv Data 2000:1–27.
Flegal KM, Cole TJ. Construction of LMS parameters for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000 growth chart. National health statistics reports; no 63. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2013.
Flegal KM, Wei R, Ogden CL, Freedman DS, Johnson CL, Curtin LR. Characterizing extreme values of body mass index-for-age by using the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:1314–20.
Shypailo RJ, Butte NF, Ellis KJ. DXA: can it be used as a criterion reference for body fat measurements in children? Obesity (Silver Spring) 2008;16:457–62.
Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, D’Ambrosio C, Hall WA, Kotagal S, Lloyd RM, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: a consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med. 2016;12(6):785–786.
Hudda MT, Fewtrell MS, Haroun D, Lum S, Williams JE, Wells JCK, Riley RD, Owen CG, Cook DG, Rudnicka AR, et al. Development and validation of a prediction model for fat mass in children and adolescents: meta-analysis using individual participant data. BMJ 2019;366:l4293.
Schofield WN. Predicting basal metabolic rate, new standards and review of previous work. Hum Nutr Clin Nutr 1985;39 Suppl 1:5–41.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1999). Promoting physical activity. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Jackson AS. Prediction of VO2 max without Exercise Testing. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1980;21(Supplement):S115