BMI-for-Age and Weight-for-Length in Children 0 to 2 Years Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: To determine the agreement between weight-for-length and BMI-for-age in children 0 to <2 years by using research-collected data, examine factors that may affect agreement, and determine if agreement differs between research- and routinely collected data. METHODS: Cross-sectional data on healthy, term-born children (n = 1632) aged 0 to <2 years attending the TARGet Kids! practice-based research network in Toronto, Canada (December 2008–October 2014) were collected. Multiple visits for each child were included. Length (cm) and weight (kg) measurements were obtained by trained research assistants during research visits, and by nonresearch staff during all other visits. BMI-for-age z-scores were compared with weight-for-length z-scores (the criterion measure). RESULTS: The correlation between weight-for-length and BMI-for-age was strong (r = 0.986, P < .0001) and Bland-Altman plots revealed good agreement (difference = −0.08, SD = 0.20, P = .91). A small proportion (6.3%) of observations were misclassified and most misclassifications occurred near the percentile cutoffs. There were no differences by age and sex. Agreement was similar between research- and routinely collected data (r = 0.99, P < .001; mean difference −0.84, SD = 0.20, P = .67). CONCLUSIONS: Weight-for-length and BMI-for-age demonstrated high agreement with low misclassification. BMI-for-age may be an appropriate indicator of growth in the first 2 years of life and has the potential to be used from birth to adulthood. Additional investigation is needed to determine if BMI-for-age in children <2 years is associated with future health outcomes.


  • Furlong, Kayla R
  • Anderson, Laura
  • Kang, Huiying
  • Lebovic, Gerald
  • Parkin, Patricia C
  • Maguire, Jonathon L
  • O’Connor, Deborah L
  • Birken, Catherine S

publication date

  • July 1, 2016