How to Measure Child Obesity in PE Classes

Chance Montgomery
4 min readMay 10, 2019

Since the 1970’s, obesity in children has more than tripled. This can be because of many things that have changed over the years, including the advances in technology, countless number of fast food restaurants, and lack of physical activity. Childhood obesity is a big concern in today’s life because it can cause major health issues and diseases when the child gets older. Measuring childhood obesity in today’s physical education classes can be done by body mass index (BMI), waist to height ratio, and the skin fold thickness test.

2015–2016 Obesity in Children

First, obesity can be measured by the BMI test in physical education classes. This is a good way to measure obesity because it is fast and easy. It is a beneficial way to get measurements in a large group of kids in a small amount of time. The way you measure your BMI is by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters. A normal BMI anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9, anything over is considered overweight to obese. BMI is helpful to use in PE classes because there are apps to use, and calculators. It is important to check a child’s BMI because it can prevent them from getting any kind of heart disease in the future. It is also very easy to tell if the child is obese from checking their body mass index because all you have to do is make sure the number is in between those two numbers, not too high and not too low. Overall, there are many ways to calculate if a child is obese, but BMI is one of the quicker ways that is still accurate.

BMI measuring unit.

Another way to calculate a child’s health is through the waist to height ratio. This way is also easy and can be done in a short amount of time, so it is good for a classroom setting. The rule is if your waist measurement is less than half of your height, you are not at risk for obesity or you are not obese already. If it is over half, then you are at risk. This way is very helpful because there are charts made that show what is healthy and what is considered unhealthy. The waist to height ratio is also a good way to consider if the child is at risk for cardiovascular diseases. This method is known to be a good indicator of early health risks. Which is important for kids so they can get healthier early in life, so they do not have problems in adulthood. To conclude, the waist to height ratio is a good way to measure kids because you only have to take two measurements of the children and then they are done. It is also not hard to do and does not require kids to stay still for too long.

Waist to Height Ratio Chart.

Lastly, there is a test called the skin fold thickness test. This is a good test to do because as long as the same person is conducting the test, it is very accurate. Since the same teacher will be performing the test on his students, it should be very accurate and helpful in deciding if the kids are in good health or if they are obese. The only downside of this test is a tool that pinches the skin, called calipers, has to be used. The kids probably will not like that very much, but it is only for a few seconds and then it is over. This test is very helpful in telling what a child’s body fat percentage is. Overall, this test will probably be one of the less popular among children, but it does not take very long.

Skinfold Test-

In conclusion, there are countless ways to measure body fat and tell if a child is healthy or not in PE classes. Measuring childhood obesity in today’s physical education classes can be done by body mass index (BMI), waist to height ratio, and the skin fold thickness test. All of these ways have two things in common which are they are fast and easy, which is very important when dealing with a large group of kids. Measuring body fat to determine if a child is obese or not is very important to do in PE class because it is better to get a child healthy the younger they are, so it does not keep getting worse. Making a child change their unhealthy ways at a young age is crucial because if they keep eating unhealthy and never exercising, their habits will only get worse as they get older.