The question of how much should a teenager weigh may seem like a simple one, but the answer is not quite so cut and dried. There are so many different factors that go into what an ideal weight is for an individual that it is hard to define. Add to that the fact that there is a variation within the range of what a teen should weigh.
Factors to Consider on How Much Should a Teenager Weigh
Whether you are worried that you or a teen you know is underweight or you are concerned about obesity, there are a number of things you'll want to look at when determining the ideal weight of a teen.
How tall a teenager is plays a role in how much he or she should weigh. A five foot tall teen's ideal weight will obviously be much less than a teen who is five feet seven inches tall. Also keep in mind the age of the teen. Many teens keep growing until they are 18 or 19. A teen may not yet be finished growing. It is imperative that he or she get the nutrients needed to continue growing and keep bones strong and healthy.
Does the teen have small bones or large bones? Males have a larger skeletal frame than females, so will often weigh more, but still be in their ideal weight range. In addition, some people have larger frames than others. A person with larger bones will weigh more even though he might be quite thin already.
Muscle weighs more than fat. An athletic teen or one that has more muscle may weigh more, but still be healthy and within an ideal weight range. That is why, when determining ideal weight, most doctors also take into account body fat percentages and look at the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the teen.
Medical Weight Charts
Medical weight charts are a good starting point for determing ideal weight. According to DocShop.com, a teen who is five feet four inches and has a medium frame should weigh between 124 and 138 pounds. However, this can vary based on other factors, so a weight chart should only be used as a starting point when determining how much a teen should weigh.
What Does the Doctor Say?
The family doctor is a good source for information on the ideal weight for a teen or any other member of the family. The doctor can help determine factors such as bone size, muscles, body fat and height and decide if the teen is in a healthy range or needs to gain or lose weight based on many different factors, including the most up to the minute research and information available.
A Few Words of Caution
Some teens are prone to eating disorders, such as Bulimia and Anorexia. Today's media promotes super thin, tall models, many of who are underweight. This can set both males and females up for unrealistic expectations and help them develop eating issues that can be detrimental to good health and even fatal. Because of this, teens should be encouraged to reach for a number that is agreed upon by parents and the doctor. A range of numbers usually works best for most teens seeking to lose weight. For example, the doctor might suggest the teen hit a maximum weight of 138 pounds based on a height of five feet four inches and a minimum of 124 pounds. It is important that the lowest number be set as well as a maximum to protect the teen from developing a disorder.
Once a goal weight has been set, it is also important to follow a healthy diet plan and not a starvation or fad diet. Healthy plans include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Cutting out sweets, sodas, processed foods and white bread is a healthy choice.