How Much Should a 15-Year Old Weigh?

The later teenage years help establish skills needed during young adulthood. With these new skills, fifteen year olds also begin to take on more responsibility and decision making for themselves. They must now weigh the outcomes of their lifestyle choices with the momentary pleasures. With a more forward focused perspective, teenagers often consider their health, including weight. They may ask the question, how much should a fifteen year old weigh?

On a weight-for-age chart, the 5th to 95th percentiles show the typical weights of fifteen-year olds per CDC. In numbers, the fifteen-year old boy’s typical weight ranges from 95 to 173 pounds and for girls 90-169 pounds. These weights represent typical numbers seen at this age according to gender, but lack important information. Without accounting for height, body composition, ethnicity, and other factors, these weights cannot accurately show what a fifteen-year old should weigh.

The ideal weight for one fifteen-year old will not be right for another. Even a BMI measurement, which uses height in its calculation, lacks detail. BMI can only help assess, not determine the healthiness of a teenager’s weight. Teenagers should weigh enough that they experience normal hormone levels, feel energized and function well. The best way for a teenager to assume a healthy weight comes from working towards creating healthy lifestyle habits rather than towards a certain weight goal.

What are these beneficial lifestyle behaviors? Continue reading to find out healthy behaviors, factors that affect weight and how to read a growth chart.

What is a Healthy Weight for a 15-Year Old?

A healthy weight classification based on the growth charts is equal to a 5 foot 3 inch 15-year old female weighing between 92 and 135 pounds or a 5 foot 7 inch 15-year old male weighing between 105 and 149 pounds. However, looking at weight alone is not advised. There are many more factors at play in determining if you are healthy than just the number on the scale.

A common way to categorize weight comes through the BMI measurement. BMI uses both weight and height in its calculation, but lacks consideration of many important factors such as body composition, ethnicity, genetics and medical conditions. Therefore, the BMI designated health categories can still only provide a small piece of the overall picture. Health experts use BMI along with other tools to assess health. You can figure out your own BMI with an online calculator such as

Using a growth chart, BMI trends and categories help determine whether a teenager’s growth might be a cause for concern. Many data points offer a better understanding of growth than a single set.

On a BMI-for-age growth chart, the percentiles designate BMI into categories. 

BMI percentileCategory
Below the 5th percentile Underweight
5-84th percentileHealthy 
85-94th percentileOverweight
Greater than the 95th percentileObese

The following website offers an easy way to figure out BMI, percentile and categorization. .

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Factors that Affect Teenage Weight

Many factors contribute to how much a teenager weighs. While a certain weight allows one teenager to function well, that same weight may not allow optimal performance in another due to some of the following reasons. 

1. Height

A smaller stature generally results in less body mass. This smaller person will carry less weight than someone with increased height. 

2. Gender

Males and females will experience different ideal weights. After puberty, girls generally require more body fat for health. Boys often develop more muscle, height and experience gender-unique development.

3. Ethnicity

Race and culture affect ideas about eating, weight, physical activity and other weight associated areas. Standard weight assessments fail to recognize these differences as they often come from studies using only white populations.

4. Genetics

Genes play a role in weight, but the research often shows conflicting numbers. Some studies report genetic influence up to 80% while others show a much smaller number at 25%. Genes affect dietary preferences, lifestyle choices, responses to stress, body composition and more.

Medical Conditions

There are medical conditions that affect metabolism, hormones or body composition. Certain medications may also incur similar symptoms. These changes alter the weight of an individual. Some examples include diabetes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases and cancer.


Even the environment can impact weight. Some environments encourage weight gain with types of foods available, stress and pollutants while variations of these conditions can promote the opposite effect of weight loss.

Body Composition

Lean muscle or muscle mass weighs more than fat mass. Therefore, a more muscular built body will be heavier than a different body of similar size. This reason explains why some healthy athletes will find they have an overweight BMI. 

Stage of Life

Age  or other forms of life stages significantly impact weight. Pregnancy, old age, puberty, growth spurts are just some of the examples of time periods where weight will fluctuate.

Understanding Growth Charts

Growth charts help medical professionals track weight, height and BMI per age and gender. These graphs show whether measurements follow a normal curve and aid in assessment of a teenager’s health. Deviance from a pattern of growth or abnormal finding do not automatically mean something is wrong, but signal a need to look into possible causes.

The growth charts show percentile curves in darker lines that span across the chart horizontally. These curves show a normal pattern of growth. A series of measurements indicate if adolescents follow a normal pattern of growth at the 75th percentile, the 5th percentile or wherever that teen’s growth curve sits .

A BMI at the 50th percentile means this teen measures at a BMI higher than 50 percent of teens their age. 

How To Read a Growth Chart:

  1. Find child’s age on the horizontal axis of the graph.
  2. Find the child’s BMI, height or weight on the vertical axis of the graph.
  3. Follow both data points to where they intersect. 
  4. Find what percentile line the point falls closest to
  5. Using past data, see if measurements follow a similar curve

Healthy Lifestyle Choices 

Weight outcomes result from some modifiable factors, but also many non-modifiable factors. Individuals cannot change non-modifiable factors, making weight goals less than ideal. Rather than focusing on weight, fifteen year olds can work towards more achievable healthy behavior goals. These lifestyle choices will encourage lifelong wellness and increases quality of life. 

1. Quality Sleep 

Research continues to emphasize the importance of adequate and quality sleep. Sleep reduces inflammation, allows the body to recover, regulates hormones and protects the brain. During teenage years, crucial growth and development occur, making sleep an essential component of well-being. Teenagers should prioritize sleeping 8-10 hours of consistent sleep each day.

2. Manage Stress

Stressful things occur every day and sometimes it feels impossible to do anything about it. However, stress management allows individuals to feel less stress amidst hard experiences. Mitigating stress allows for optimal heath as chronic stress harms mental, emotional and physical health. 

 The following list describes just some of the many ways to manage stress:

  • Talking to someone (mother, friend, grandmother) 
  • Prioritizing tasks
  • Setting aside time for favorite pastimes
  • Learning a new skill
  • Incorporating time for physical activity 
  • Ensuring adequate sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet 
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Meeting with a licensed professional as needed

3. Hydration

Water keeps body systems running smoothly and is essential to well-being. Drinking enough fluid prevents the negative consequences of dehydration such as fatigue, dizziness, headaches and lack of energy. How do you know how much fluid you need?

Hydration requirements differ from person to person and from day to day. The often quoted 8 cups of water can be too little or too much depending on the person. Thirst also does not provide the best indicator as it is an early sign of dehydration. A urine color of pale yellow shows whether a person drinks enough fluid.

Unsweetened beverages make the best fluid choices. These options include water, milk, unsweetened plant milks, herbal tea and 100% fruit juice. On the other hand, sweetened beverages offer little nutrition with high amounts of sugar and calories.

4. Balanced and Varied Eating Pattern 

Following the principles of moderation, balance and variety with dietary choices will promote health and sustainability. Moderation means avoiding extremes such as fad diets, rigid rules, restriction and overeating. Balance involves consuming  multiple food groups  and nutrients at eating  occasions. Variety comes through choosing a wide range of foods and colors within each food group. 

The widely accepted idea of eating less or eliminating foods to improve health generally does not actually improve wellness. These actions may cause temporary weight loss, but rarely result in long lasting results or other favorable outcomes. An emphasis on including more nutrient dense foods will benefit individuals. Nutrient dense foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, soy, lentils), unsweetened dairy, eggs, lean meat, sea food, unsaturated fats (plant oils, avocado, olives, fatty fish, etc.).

5. Appropriate Physical Activity 

The CDC recommends sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous daily activity for teenagers. Teenagers should find what movement feels good to them as no one form of ideal exercise exists. Moderate to vigorous exercise includes walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, swimming, sports, outdoor chores, climbing, jump rope and roller blading.

Teenagers do not need to devote sixty straight minutes to movement, but can incorporate chosen movement throughout the day for similar benefits. With continued growth and development, teenagers should take extra caution with avoiding overtraining by ensuring adequate rest and nutrition.

6. Self-care

Fifteen year olds will often feel burdened down by expectations. However, trying to meet everyone’s expectations, including your own, can lead to burnout. Teenagers should set aside time to participate in activities they enjoy, including leisure. They should also acknowledge the fact that perfection is not attainable and practice self compassion. Making mistakes and continued learning is a normal part of life. Those who chronically feel stressed or experience feelings of extreme sadness, frustration, worthlessness, anxiety or other negative states of emotion, including thoughts of suicide, should reach out for help.

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Katherine Harmer, RDN

I'm a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a love for coaching others to success in their health goals, especially teenage athletes. Tennis was my sport of choice in high school. Now I'm a little bit older, a little bit smarter, and a little bit worse at tennis.

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