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Healthy Weight Center

Tennage Girls and Weight Changes

03/11/2009

Question:

I am 13. I am 5 foot 6 inches and I weigh 130 pounds. Is this normal for a girl my age? Or am I overweight? I feel fat but I`m told I`m fine. I think my thighs are also fat. Am I really fine?

Answer:

As a teenager, you are in a period of rapid growth and development, with dramatic changes in your body composition.  In adolescent girls, fat becomes a larger percentage of total body weight and body shape begins to change.  It is important to accept these physiological changes and to feel positively about your body image.

Height and weight can be used to calculate a measure called Body Mass Index or BMI.  According to growth charts used by pediatricians (developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), most 13-year old girls have BMIs in the range of 15-22.  Your BMI is 21.  So you are in the healthy BMI range for your age.  In other words, your weight is in the healthy range for your height and age.

To stay in the healthy weight range, remember to eat healthful foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt) and lean meat, poultry, and fish.  Limit your intake of foods that are loaded with calories but not many nutrients, such as french fries, fried foods, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and sugary soft drinks.  Also remember to be physically active every day.  Take a walk, swim, bike, dance, or participate in other types of physical activity or sports that you enjoy.  Ask a friend or family member to join you in your activity.  If you can make healthy foods and physical activity part of your lifestyle now, you will be more likely to remain in a healthy weight range throughout your life!

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Response by:

Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati