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Teenagers & Adolescence



Overweight teens - the Challenges
  • Working parents are role models for food and exercise habits.
  • Parents are food gatekeepers because they buy food for family.
  • People don't cook anymore and don't know what ingredients are in food. Microwaving or heating prepared food is not cooking. Families don't teach life skills like cooking so obesity becomes a generational issue due to the dependence on fast, deli or take out food.
  • Families don't eat at a dinner table anymore and if they do the television is on so people keep eating even after they are full.
  • Carbonated beverages and sweetened coffee drinks have replaced milk as beverage of choice.
  • Dependence on fast food, prepared and processed foods results in high fat and high sugar foods which also results in a higher food budget.
  • Eating out at restaurants have become the norm rather than a treat - 40% of meals are eaten outside the home.
  • Portion sizes have increased enormously to a huge size.
  • Neighborhoods aren't safe for latchkey kids to play outside after school.
  • School physical education classes have been discontinued in favor of more academic subjects.

It's not hopeless and you can make lifestyle changes starting today.
  • Schedule time each week for family activities that expend energy. Visit museums. Bike or walk. Get up and move your feet. Do activities that don't include food.
  • Buy foods that looks like it grew on a farm and foods with ingredients you recognize as food.
  • Start cooking from recipes. If you don't know how to cook, take a cooking class or buy a simple cookbook that teaches cooking with pictures that you can try at home with kids on weekends. Teaching your children to cook is a life skill like managing money.
  • Make dinner time a priority for everyone to sit down together and share their day. Turn off the technology during meals including television, phones, video games and computers.
  • Make carbonated beverages a treat not a daily habit.
  • Make meals on the weekend that can easily be served on work days.
  • Teach your kids to make healthy choices when eating out.
  • Eat smaller portions of food and take leftovers home from restaurants for another meal.
  • Work with your neighbors to ensure safer streets for kids.
  • Work with schools to add physical education classes and enroll kids in after school sports because it helps them be active and builds self-esteem.


  1. Where can I find a dietitian who works with teenagers? Answer
  2. I am 17 years old girl. Could you tell me how much I should weigh? Answer
  3. I am a 16 year old female who weight 160 pounds. I'm working out 6 days a week and not eating too much. Answer
  4. How much should a 16 year old weigh? Answer
  5. I am trying to find out how many calories, grams of fat, carbos I should take in per day. Answer
  6. I need to know how much calories, etc a regular 14 year old person weighing 110 pounds needs daily. Answer
  7. I'm a 15 year old female. What is a good weight for me? Answer
  8. I hear that the average teen burns about 1100 calories a day with a fair amount of exercise. Does this number sound right? Answer
  9. How many calories does an average teen about 15 years burn in one day? Answer


  10. I must admit that her mom and I are primarily responsible for the concern about our daughter's weight. Answer
  11. I have a 13.5 year old daughter. How does she stack up? Answer
  12. I am 18 year old male and 6 feet 7 inches tall. I am starting to feel uncomfortable about my height. When will I stop growing? Answer
  13. Ever since my daugher was born she has had a problem with not going to the bathroom everyday. Nothing seems to work. Answer
  14. I'm a 14 year old teenager and I have been struggling to lose weight for quite some time now. Do you have any tips for me? Answer
  15. I am 16 years old and have lost 80 pounds. There are times when I can't stop eating. I'm afraid of gaining all my weight back. Answer
  16. I have already talked about it wih my mom and some of my close friends. I guess I am underweight. Answer
  17. I filled out your calculator and was wondering how much a difference there is me being 16 not 18? Answer
  18. I weight about 118 and I'm 5 feet 3 inches. I'm not overweight though I'd like to weight about 110. What is a good exercise program for me? Answer
  19. For teen who is 11 years old, 85 pounds, height 5 feet and eats 1000 calories / day, tell me if this is the right calculation for her. Answer


  20. I'm 16, 5 feet 10 inches and about 170 pounds. Am I fat? Answer
  21. I am a female 14 years old, 5 feet 7 inches and 118 pounds. I want to know if I am underweight or not? Answer
  22. When watching what you eat to get quickest weight loss results, should you be concerned with calories as fat? Answer
  23. I have a 15 year old daughter who eats no fat. She appears somewhat thin. What are the implications of such a rigid avoidance of fat? Answer
  24. How can you lose weight if you have no time to exercise? Does being a vegetarian really help you lose weight? Answer
  25. I am 13 years old and always afraid of being overweight. What would be the normal weight for me? Answer


Where can I find a dietitian who works with teenagers?

The Pediatric Nutrition dietetic practice group of the American Dietetic Association specializes in working with infants, children and adolescents. You can find a dietitian at the American Dietetic Association. Include your zip code or city / state and the type of service you want (individual consultation) with expertise in pediatric nutrition or childhood obesity.



I am 17 years old and about 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 3 inches. I have about a medium body frame. Could you please tell me how much I should weigh at my age and height? I am trying to lose some weight right now and I would just like to know how much I should lose. I am also a female. Thank You.

A healthy weight range for you is 101 to 136 pounds at your height of 5 feet 2 inches. If you are 5 feet, 3 inches, then a healthy weight range is 104 to 140 pounds. So what do you weigh now? If you weigh between either range for height, you are at a healthy weight and do not need to lose weight.


Hello. I am a 16 year old female who weighs 160 pounds right now. I am not doing a sport right now, but when I do I tend to weight between 145 and 150 pounds. I have big bones, so I know that I should weigh between 130 and 140, but I find getting down there very difficult. I hit 145 and just stop losing weight. I don't know why.

My eating habits when I am doing my sport consist of eating a ham and cheese sandwich and a bag of chips with juice for lunch. I practice till about 5 after school. Then dinner and a snack before bed. How come I am not losing more?

I don't understand. Should I be trying harder in practice? Sometimes we don't do much. But I'm working out 6 days a week and not eating too much. Shouldn't this be sufficient enough? Please help. I am very confussed. Thank you.

Since you didn't tell me how tall you are or whether you are a girl or boy, I can't comment on whether your weight is appropriate for your height or not. You are also still growing though. Please reply with your height and gender.

Since you are an athlete, you may have more muscle mass than an average person. Per square inch, muscle weighs more than fat because it is 70% water. If you are working out 6 days a week, it is possible your lean tissue (muscles) is larger than average which could attribute to a higher weight. You also said that you have "big bones" which we don't consider anymore in determining a kid's weight. You may be trying for an unrealistic weight for your height especially for sports.

You didn't mention what you eat for the rest of the day so I can't comment much on your lunch. Eat a variety of foods and average sized portions. Some suggestions to decrease fat from your food choices would be to eat fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch instead of a bag of chips. I noticed you didn't mention any milk intake. It is essential for a young athlete such as yourself to drink 3 cups of milk (skim or fat-free) each day. Calcium is essential for bone growth and reducing the risk of stress fractures. You could follow the recommended number of servings in the Food Guide Pyramidwhich for your age are:
  • 6 to 7 ounces of whole grains
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetables
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fruits
  • 3 cups milk
  • 5 to 6 ounces meat or cooked dried beans
  • 5 to 6 teaspoons healthy oils from margarine, mayonnaise or salad dressing or 1 ounce servings of nuts.


How much should a 16 year old weigh?

Have you tried the Healthy Kid Calculator? Click on the link in the calculator box in the left navigation.

Depends on gender and height. Send your stats back and I will give you healthy range.


Hi, i am trying to find out how many calories, grams of fat, carbos etc. I should take in per day. I am 16, 5 feet 0 inches 160 pounds. Please let me know.

If you are a girl, then to maintain your weight you would need about 1429 calories with 179 grams carbohydrate and 48 grams of fat. However a healthy weight range for a girl your height is 100 to 127 pounds. You may continue to grow till you are 18 so plan to only reduce 1429 calories by about 220 calories a day as you need nutrients to continue to grow.

If you are a boy, then you need about 1495 calories a day with 199 grams carbohydrate and 53 grams of fat. However a healthy weight range for a boy your height is 100 to 127 pounds. You will continue to grow till you are 23 so plan to only reduce 1495 calories by about 295 calories a day as you need nutrients to continue to grow


I'm in eighth grade and I attend Middle School in Dublin, Ohio. I'm doing a project about nutrition. I need to know how much calorie, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar, protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron a regular 14 years old person weighting 110 pounds needs daily. I hope you can help me. Thank you.

Use my Healthy Kid Calculator to determine the Recommended Dietary Allowance of nutrient needs for a 14 year old teen.


I'm 15 year old female, 5 feet 6 inches, currently 101 pounds. What is a good weight for me?

Your healthy weight range for height and age is 95 - 152 pounds with an average of 112 pounds. Your BMI is 16 which is a little low for your age related healthy range of 17 - 28. Women who are under 18% body fat often have irregular menstrual periods so it would benefit you to gain a little weight.


I heard that the average teen burns about 1,100 calories a day with a fair amount of exercise (school, work at home, etc). I was wondering basically how much a healthy, young teen would burn. Does this number sound right?

No way unless the person is a toddler (2 - 3 yr old).


How many calories does an average teen about 15 years old burn in one day? How many calories does she consume on average? Just Wondering.

Have you tried my Healthy Kid Calculator? If you give me height, weight, gender and activity hours, I will tell you exactly. The calorie needs of a 15 year old teen would vary greatly even within the healthy weight range for age.


I must admit that her mom and I are primarily responsible for the concern. As for exercise, she does a great job on our Health Rider, 30+ minutes at a time, but when it comes to running, she doesn't seem to have the stamina, although she likes to walk at a casual pace. She was very active with sports, until she tried out for the volleyball team at her new school and didn't make the cut. I think it was her first time not making it onto a sports team. After that, she didn't try out for any more sports. Thanks again for your response!

Best to encourage exercise that a person likes. I have never liked running either, but love walking, biking, downhill skiing, etc. Just do it 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week.

Please listen again. It is time to start letting lose of your responsibility of your daughter's eating / exercise and encouraging her to assume the role. Involve her in those decisions and she will feel your respect for treating her maturely. Your job is to provide a healthy environment for food and exercise choices. The best support you can provide is to praise her when she exercises and eats healthy and don't nag when she doesn't. No one is perfect or makes a healthy decision every time. Like occasionally eating fast food won't kill you and eating meals with her friends is part of what she is supposed to be doing. Adolescence is the time for children to establish their independence and self control. I have worked with too many teenage girls who develop eating disorders to gain control over their bodies.



I have a 13.5 year old daughter, 62 inches tall, 133 pounds. How does she stack up?

I tried using your Healthy Body Calculator for my daughter, but the calculator said that it is only good for age 18 or older. She seems ok, height / weight-wise, but she seems to eat often. She doesn't appear to have large thighs or much apparent fat, so it could be fine. What do you think? You have an excellent web site! Thanks and keep up the great work!


Have you tried my Healthy Kid Calculator? I ran her data through the calculator. Her healthy weight range is 100 - 140 pounds and her BMI is 24 with a healthy range of 16 - 25 for her age. She's fine, but what does she think?

Considering her age, is she asking about her thighs or you? Teenage girls are very sensitive about their weight and physical appearance so unless she is getting too thin, this is a hands off subject for parents, especially dads. Hope you don't mind my directness about this, but it may help you avoid a power struggle or worse yet a negative body image.

Your daughter should be eating often (3 meals and 2 - 3 snacks) as she is entering a growth period and she will reach 90% of her adult height by 15. If she diets now or restricts certain foods, she may not grow as tall as she is genetically programmed or may not deposit enough calcium in her bones.

What you can do is encourage her to have a strong, healthy body which is the best message a teen girl can hear. Encourage her to exercise and try exercising together. Great dad - daughter time. Whoever grocery shops can structure a healthy food environment by limiting high fat, sweet foods (empty calorie foods - low in vitamins and minerals on the food label is a clue). Also, she needs to start expressing her adolescent independence and one way to do that is with food so ask for her participation in choosing foods and menus. Support her efforts so her choices at home are only healthy.





I am an 18 year old male. My father is 6'2" and my mother is 5'10". I am currently 6 feet 7 inches and I am still growing. I have been putting on about 4 inches each year for the last four years. I am starting to feel uncomfortable about my height. When will I stop growing?

Can't predict your maximal height, but probably will be slowing soon as males reach 90% of their adult height by age 18. However, you will continue to grow till you are 23.

The bigger concern is has your weight kept up with your height? Probably not so check out the Healthy Body Calculator and see how much you should be eating just to maintain your weight. Next, if my calculator says you are underweight, do it again and choose to gain 1 or 2 pounds per week to see how many calories you need to eat to gain weight.



This is a rather "delicate" subject with my daughter. Ever since she was born, she has had a problem with not going to the bathroom everyday and therefore having very large stools. We have tried a variety of remedies Metamucil, orange juice every morning, cereal with bran flakes or oat flakes. Nothing seems to work. I worry that if she has this problem as a teen what will it be like for her as an adult.

Her metabolism must be very slow and I worry about her body being poisoned or possibly cancer. I have taken her to the doctor that's when we tried the bran and oat flakes to no avail. I would really appreciate your advice on this matter. Thanks very much.

You did not say what the consistency of your daughter's stool is. If it looks like round balls stuck together, then she is constipated. If the stool is brown colored water, then she has diarrhea. Anything in between in terms of consistency of stool is normal.

FYI, menstruating women often get constipated the week prior to their period as the female body often retains water. This occurs because women's bodies prepare for pregnancy every month! If this is a problem, then water and a fiber rich cereal at breakfast should prevent pre-menstrual constipation.

As to the size of the stool, as long as it doesn't cause her discomfort or abdominal pain, I would forget it. Her body has it's own elimination pattern. Not everyone has a bowel movement every day which is also normal. Vegetarians often have larger stools because of the amount of fiber they eat.

As long as she eats fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day while drinking enough water so that her stools can easily pass, she is fine. She can check if she is drinking enough water by paying attention to the color of her urine. It should be colorless and odorless except for the first voided urine in the morning. Also, if she eats asparagus, then her urine may smell until her body processes the asparagus.

I wouldn't worry about her being poisoned or cancer. Your liver detoxifies your blood and at 15, I doubt your daughter would ingest a poison. A person's risk of colon cancer increases with high fat and low fiber diets. The purpose of fiber is to clean out the gastrointestinal tract and as long as her stools aren't constipated and she is passing normal stool. she is fine.

FYI, exercise can reduce the amount of time food takes to traverse the stomach and intestines. Does she exercise? If not, for her health and long term weight maintenance, she should exercise 30 minutes, 5 times per week.




I'm a 14 year old teenager and I have been struggling to lose weight for quite some time now. I walk twice a day for 30 minutes each time and I do 30 sit ups each week. I eat very well but on weekends I sort of let go of my good eating pattern and eat junk food.

I weigh 66 kilos and my height is about 157 cm. What should my weight be and do you have any tips for me?

From your email address, I assumed you are a male to perform some calculations. If I am wrong, please write back and I will re-calculate.

Guess what? Your healthy weight range is 55.6 - 65.6 kg and you are average height for age. You are within your healthy weight range for height and age. So, I would recommend you maintain your weight for about 3 - 6 months rather than trying to lose.

Keep exercising like you do with walking and sit ups, but add some weight lifting to build muscle. Get some muscle definition and I bet it will change how you view your body. Focus on achieving a strong, healthy body. The best way to keep your weight under control is by eating a healthy diet based on the Food Guide Pyramid and daily exercise. It takes a change in lifestyle for most teens to make this a regular part of their daily routine.

Periodically eating junk food won't kill you or permanently harm your health. Just don't eat junk food most of the time. Also, don't beat yourself up over hanging out with your friends and doing what they are doing as long as it isn't illegal. Try moderation. For instance if you go out to eat, a burger or grilled chicken sandwich is fine, but skip the cheese, bacon or mayonnaise sauces. If you eat pizza, choose ham over sausage or pepperoni, which are higher in fat and skip the extra cheese. Be bold and add some vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, onions) to your pizza, but skip the olives which are mostly fat. You can choose milk over pop and limit fries to once or twice a month. Hey tell your friends you're a health nut.

Assuming you continue to grow taller until at least 18, when you turn 15, your healthy weight for height should be 71.9 kg max. Depending on how close you are to turning 15, maybe you should be slowly gaining weight. Hope that provides you with some guidance.


I am 16 years old. In the past 8 months, I have lost 80 lbs. and now weigh about 146. I've used your Healthy Body Calculator and it said that I have a daily allowance of 2500 calories.

That is all fine. Here is my problem. There are times when I can't stop eating. I'm afraid of gaining all my weight back and this is tearing me apart. Every time I tell myself I tomorrow it won't happen, but it does. Mostly it happens when I'm alone or bored and usually it's things like cereal or apples or vegetables that I eat. I do not eat any deserts or sweets. But when I start eating cereal or apples, I can't stop. I don't even know if I'm hungry or not anymore, but it's making me very worried. I've already gained 6 pounds in about a week because of it.

I don't eat a lot of fat and try to keep under my daily allowance, but I can't control myself anymore. My mom says it's because I'm underweight and my body is just hungry, but I don't know anymore. I just want to find some middle ground and be normal again. I don't know what to do and I'm scared. Please help!

You didn't say how tall you are, but at 146 you should be around 5'7". If you are taller than that, you are underweight. You will continue to grow though till 18 and need additional calories for growth.

Why did you lose 80 pounds? Did the weight loss occurr because of illness or do you participate in a sport? This is a tremendous amount of weight to lose for an adolescent male who is still growing and usually not recommended except under medical supervision for extreme obesity.

Your issues are in your head, not your mouth or stomach. I would highly recommend that you contact a psychologist to talk to about what is going on. The foods you are eating are not typical binge foods that bulimics eat, but definitely a symptom of something that needs to be faced. Binging usually occurs when a person is alone. Your inability to determine hunger and fullness while eating when you are not hungry is symptomatic that something needs to be dealt with. The foods you are eating (cereal, vegetables and apples) can contain a lot of fiber, which produces a lot of stool. So before you devleop a problem because of this, go talk to a therapist, especially one who deals with food issues.

If you feel comfortable talking to one of your parents, please talk to them. You could start with your school counselor who could recommend a therapist for you to talk to. Do any of your friends know that sometimes you can't stop eating? If you trust a friend, ask them to go with you to see a therapist if you can't talk to one of your parents. This is not a big problem... yet and your willingness to acknowledge that you need help is a big plus.


Thank you for the concern, I appreciate it very much. I have already talked about it with my mom and some of my closer friends. I do have an appointment with my doctor on Tuesday to talk about it.

I am 5'11. So I guess I am underweight, but the thing is I like the way I look right now and I don't want to change that in anyway. I lost the weight because I was very depressed about the way I looked and finally decided to do something about it. So I did in about 8 months.

Afterwards I went to see my doctor and he said it was incredible, but that I was in perfect health and there was no problem. That was about September and this new problem started December. I'm sure I'll be able to work through it, but I want to say thank you for your letter. I with keep in touch with you about my progress. Thanks.

Glad you wrote back. You have a lot of positive attitudes that will help you to resolve this. Keep talking to others. Ask your doctor to refer you to a psychologist who works with teens and food issues. Holidays are stressful times and sometimes people turn to food, especially carbohydrates, to numb out. Does that fit?

At 5'11" you should weight about 155 - 189 pounds. Instead of focusing on a particular weight, work toward fitness and strength goals. Do you exercise or lift weights? If not, start doing some exercises you like. Exercise increases the "feel good me's" (endorphins) in your brain and give you more energy.

With a therapist, dig around in your head to find out why you wanted to lose the weight to begin with. Do some work and keep in touch. I would like to hear how you do.


I filled out your Healthy Body Calculator and I was wondering how much of a difference there is, me being 16 not 18.( I'm 5' 11", 140 pounds). Thank You.

Not a lot. You can weigh 155 - 189 pounds. Needless to say, you are probably tall and thin for age. But the good news is guys don't reach 90% of their adult height until age 18. So you will probably grow taller yet. Most guys don't increase muscle mass until their vertical height growth slows so don't expect to fill out till after 18.


Hi! I am a 14 year old female. I weigh about 118 and I'm 5'3". I play basketball on a team and in gym. I'm not overweight though I'd like to weigh about 110. I especially need to take some weight off my thighs. What's a good exercise program for me? Thank You.

Would suggest you maintain your weight and do weight lifting with your legs to increase your muscle. If you lose weight, you will lose muscle, which will negatively affect your basketball performance.

Also, since you haven't hit your max height, if you lose weight now, you may not grow as tall as your destined to based on your parent's height. Girls reach 90% of their adult height by age 15 and if you lose some weight, you may stunt your growth which would be a real negative for a girl basketball player.

Talk to your gym teacher about weight lifting exercises you can do with your legs to build muscle for running and jumping. Think strength, not weight loss. Check out your school's weight room. There may be mostly guys there, but a gutsy girl can easily work out!


I 'm nutritionist from Brazil. Now I have a lot of clients online all those are children and teenagers. Sometimes they 're overweight or underweight. The last one send me questions about energy values, to keep right weight.

My question is: For teen who is 11 years old , 85 pounds, height 5'0' , gymnast, eat 1000 calories / day. - One year more eat 100 calories more than 1000 calories. Tell me if this is the right calculation for her.

No, 1000 calories would be way too low. Her basal metabolic rate is 1340 calories. If she just sits or stands the rest of the day, she will need approximately 300 - 400 calories more per day for sedentary activities. At her current weight, she burns approximately 121 calories per hour in gymnastics. To calculate her calories burned during gymnastics, multiply 121 times the number of hours she works out and add that to her basal calories (1340) and activity calories (300 - 400) to get a more accurate number.

Underestimating her calorie requirement would negatively affect her athletic performance and cause her to lose weight. If she loses any weight, then she is probably not eating enough calories and should eat more food, more often. It is reasonable for her to weigh herself every week to make sure she isn't losing weight over time. She should pick a regular private time to weigh herself. Furthermore, since she is still growing she needs sufficient calories to fuel her adolescent growth spurt and reach her genetically determined height.


Hi, Joanne. I'm 16, 5'10" and about 170 lbs. Am I fat? What is the normal weight for my age and height? Thanks!

Yes, you are in a healthy weight range (154 to 188 pounds) for your height and age. You are not fat. In fact, your BMI which is an estimate of your percent body fat is 24. The normal range for your age is 18 to 26.


Hi I am a female 14 years old, 5"7 and 118 lbs. I want to know if I am underweight or not?

No you are not underweight for height. You are taller than 95% of the girls your age and average for weight with a healthy weight range of 111 - 145 pounds. By adult standards, you could weigh 121 - 149 pounds, which would put you 3 pounds underweight at your current weight if you were an adult, but you are still a teen. Your BMI (body fat estimate) is 19 with a healthy range of 16 to 25.

Girls reach 90% of their adult height by age 15. Bone density increases to age 25 so eat calcium rich foods like milk and dairy products.

Make healthy food choices and exercise. If you feel underweight, try weight lifting or other muscle building exercises to build muscle, which weighs more than fat because muscle has a higher water content.


When watching what you eat to get quickest weight loss results and exercising regularly, should you be as concerned with calories as with fat content? For successful weight loss, how many grams of fat / day are necessary for a girl age 16?

Thank you.

Well check it out for yourself, but you will have to pretend you are at least 18 for now. Go to the Healthy Body Calculator. It will calculate your calories and fat grams. Would not suggest weight loss just yet as your body is still growing. Calories count, but so does fat. The number of calories you need depends on your height and current weight. In addition, 30% of your calories should come from food sources of fat.


I have a fifteen-year-old daughter who eats virtually no fat. She consumes plenty of food otherwise, but is very careful to eat fat free foods whether the fat comes in the preparation or from the food itself. She appears somewhat thin (110 pounds, 63 inches tall last June). I do not know if she is still 110 pounds. She eats vegetables and cereals and fruits as well as prepared fat free foods (pudding or other fat free desserts). What are the implications of such a rigid avoidance of fat?

Your daughter's weight is appropriate for her height if she is still 5"3" and 110 pounds. However, you do not know if she weighs 110 and it may be confrontational (power struggle) to get her on a scale. The eyeball test also works. If a person looks thin, they probably are underweight.

In order to prevent fatty acid deficiency, you only need about 1 tsp. of polyunsaturated oil per day. Even diets that are extremely low in fat, can't get that low even if the person only eats fruits, vegetables or fat free grains. But, you daughter may not be getting the fat she needs. You can talk to her that a fat free diet is unhealthy for her skin as it will become dry, red and flaky. Appeal to her concern for her health as she may be eating a low fat diet because of the health benefits.

Just lowering the fat content in your diet does not necessarily lower your body weight. Researchers have found that people will make up the difference in calories of lower fat foods by eating more food later in the day. Unless of course, the person is restricting their food intake which will result in lowering body weight.

Your body needs fat to make sex hormones and if your daughter's body fat is less than 18% she may not be menstruating. This is another indicator of low body weight as well. The long-term consequences of not menstruating and low body weight shows up most in a woman's bones. Bones lay down calcium until they reach a maximum density around 25 years of age. After 25, you can maintain your bone density by eating calcium rich foods and weight bearing exercise (anything except swimming and bicycling). If a person restricts their intake of calcium rich foods like dairy products, they risk early osteoporosis. Perhaps your daughter would be more motivated to modify her low fat eating habits if she knew the consequences on her bone health rather than focusing on her weight unless she is less than 95 pounds. If she is less than 95 pounds, read the anorexia topic.


I am a student and my instructor is letting me use her e-mail address. My question is how can you lose weight if you have no time to exercise? I barely eat at all and when I do I try to watch what I eat.

Does being a vegetarian really help you lose weight? Does no meat include fish? Please write back!

All the students would like to say "WE LOVE YOU JOANNE!"

Well unless you are lying in bed all day, guess what??? You are exercising every time you move your body! Ways you can increase the exercise you do get, is to walk more and climb stairs rather than using an elevator. Plan after school activities with your friends that don't involve sitting in front of the television.

Actually barely eating at all doesn't help keep your body healthy or provide fuel for your brain to function in school. If you are a teenager or pre-teen, you are in a growth spurt. Guess what? If you are taller, you get to eat more food and expend more energy doing the regular things you do. Start eating 3 times per day to fuel this growth. Eat until your are full then stop even if you leave food on your plate. You also need to eat regularly because studies have shown that kids who eat breakfast do better in school, especially classes before lunch, than students who skip breakfast. Watch what you eat by using the Food Guide Pyramid as a guide.

There are different types of vegetarians and you can be just a red meat avoider and still eat fish or chicken. Or you could not eat any meat, but include eggs and dairy products. Or you could avoid any animal products. Read the vegetarian topic.

Being a vegetarian does not necessarily mean that you will lose weight. You will lose weight if you eat less food that your body needs. But I would not recommend weight loss if you are less than 18 years old because weight loss could interfere with how tall you are supposed to be or how much calcium gets deposited in your bones. Better to grow into your height and keep your weight the same. If you are a female, you will achieve 90% of your adult height by age 15 and if a male 90% of your adult height by age 18. Girls continue to grow until 18 and boys until 23. So don't short change yourself!

Thanks for the positive feedback!

FYI: The following tables were developed by Joanne Kendrick MS RD, nutritionist with the St. Paul Ramsey County Nutrition Program, Minnesota. The tables contain weight gain and height growth for teens. These tables continue from the infants & toddlers topic and the children topic.

The gains in weight and height percentiles were calculated from the 1976 growth charts of the National Center for Health Statistics, NDHS Growth Charts, which are the latest available as of February 1996. The data was created by the NCHS in cooperation with the Center for Disease Control and are based on data from the Health Examination Surveys and the Health Nutrition Examination Survey. These data are appropriate for infants, children and teenagers in the general United States population.

Weight and height should be within 2 percentile rankings of each other. Percentile rankings are figured at 95th, 90th, 75th, 50th, 25th, 10th and 5th. This means that at the 95th percentile, the teen is heavier or taller than 95% of other teens the same age.

Growth curves should not rise or drop 2 percentile rankings over 6 months as this would indicate a change in growth pattern (i.e. becoming short and heavy or tall and underweight). For instance, if a teen's weight is in the 95th percentile, then at any age, his/her weight should not be below the 75th percentile. Also, there should be a correlation between height and weight as well. For instance, if a teen's height is at the 75th percentile, this teen's weight should not be below the 25th percentile or above the 95th.

The tables intended use is for teens and parents to assist them in determining whether their weight and height are following a "normal" growth pattern using the teens own growth rate. For instance, if a female teen's weight and height were in the 50th percentile (average for age) then between 13 and 13 1/2 years of age, the teen should gain 4 pounds and 3/4 inch in height. If the female teen was in the 5th percentile (small for age), then between 13 and 13 1/2 years of age, the teen should gain 4 pounds and 3/4 inches in height.

GIRLS 12 - 18 YEARS IN POUNDS

Age in YearsGain per 6 months in pounds
95th50th5th
12 TO 12 1/275 1/24
12 1/2 TO 13854
13 TO 13 1/2644
13 1/2 TO 14644
14 TO 14 1/2544
14 1/2 TO 15543
15 TO 15 1/2433
15 1/2 TO 16322 1/2
16 TO 16 1/23 1/222
16 1/2 TO 173 1/211 1/2
17 TO 17 1/21/203/4
17 1/2 to 181/201/4


GIRLS 12 - 18 YEARS IN INCHES

Age in YearsGain in 6 months in inches
95th50th5th
12 TO 12 1/21 1/41 1/21 1/4
12 1/2 TO 137/811
13 TO 13 1/27/83/43/4
13 1/2 TO 141/21/21/2
14 TO 14 1/21/21/41/2
14 1/2 TO 151/41/41/4
15 TO 15 1/21/41/41/4
15 1/2 TO 161/41/81/4
16 TO 16 1/21/41/81/4
16 1/2 TO 171/81/81/8
17 TO 17 1/21/81/81/8
17 1/2 to 181/81/81/8


BOYS 12 TO 18 YEARS IN POUNDS

Age in YearsGain per 6 months in Pounds
95th50th5th
12 TO 12 1/2854
12 1/2 TO 13865
13 TO 13 1/27 1/264
13 1/2 TO 146 1/286
14 TO 14 1/2865
14 1/2 TO 15765
15 TO 15 1/2765
15 1/2 TO 16866
16 TO 16 1/2854
16 1/2 TO 176 1/244
17 TO 17 1/2633
17 1/2 to 18543


BOYS 12 TO 18 YEARS IN INCHES

Age in YearsGain in 6 months in inches
95th50th5th
12 TO 12 1/21 1/21 1/41
12 1/2 TO 131 1/21 1/41
13 TO 13 1/21 1/41 1/21 1/4
13 1/2 TO 141 1/41 1/41
14 TO 14 1/21 5/81 1/41 3/8
14 1/2 TO 15111 3/8
15 TO 15 1/23/411
15 TO 15 1/23/411
15 1/2 TO 161/211
16 TO 16 1/21/23/41 1/4
16 1/2 TO 171/41/21/2
17 TO 17 1/21/81/41/4
17 1/2 TO 181/801/4


I am thirteen years old and I'm always afraid of being overweight. I am 5'5", but I won't tell my weight because I don't want to hear again that I'm perfect just the way I am. I recently lost a lot of weight and in my eyes I look okay but could stand to lose some more. My best friend is always telling me to eat junk food because she thinks I'm going to become anorexic. Besides the fact that junk food is bad for my health it also adds weight. Of course, who can blame her? She's 4'10" and weighs about seventy pounds. She looks anorexic but eats a lot and she isn't bulimic. Is it normal for her to weigh that much and what would be the normal weight for me?

If you are a boy, 122 to 150 pounds is OK. If you are a girl, 113 to 138 pounds is OK. A 4'10" girl's normal weight is 81 to 99 pounds.

Your friend is about 77% of her healthy body weight. But if she eats food every day, several times a day and doesn't throw it up, then she is probably just thin for her height rather than anorectic. If you want to know more about eating disorders, look at the anorexia or bulimia topics. Pre-occupation with weight is just one of the many symptoms used to diagnose an eating disorder.

Losing a lot of weight during adolescence is not recommended (how much did you lose?). Adolescence is a period of growth. Better you grow into your weight by getting taller during a growth spurt than trying to lose. Also, exercise is a great way to restructure your body's composition, lose fat, gain muscle.

If you think you look OK, then why do you think you need to lose more weight? Sounds like you are unhappy with your body or are unhappy with the way you look, in spite of losing weight. Some of that is part of being a normal teenager. If you think about your weight a lot, you should talk to someone about your thoughts. A psychologist or dietitian would be appropriate for you to discuss your weight concerns with. You could also talk to your parents or an older relative whose opinion you respect.






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