16-years old is such an important time of development. Physical, emotional, and mental development are all happening simultaneously and it may be a confusing time as you get used to the changes that your body is going through. It is normal to have questions about your weight at this time in your life.
A healthy weight for a 16-Year old is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) between the 5th and 85th percentiles on the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) growth charts. However, there are many more factors to look at in determining health status. For example, a 16-year old female at 64 inches tall (5 feet 4 inches) would be classified as healthy weight between 98 and 143 pounds (44.5 to 65 kg). A16-year old male at 68 inches tall (5 feet 8 inches) would be classified as a healthy weight between 113 and 158 pounds (51 to 72 kg).
Keep in mind, BMI percentiles are not a perfect classification of “health” and what is “normal”. Every 16-year old is different and BMI is just one possible measure of health and size.
Read on for more details about what is a healthy weight for a 16-year old and tips to help 16-year olds maintain a healthy weight.
What is Overweight for a 16-Year Old?
“Overweight” for a 16-year old is defined as being above the 85th percentile on the CDC growth charts. If a 16-year old is above the 95th percentile, they would be classified as “obese.”
For example, according to the CDC growth charts, a 16-year old girl who is 5 foot 4 (64 inches) tall with a weight over 144 pounds would be classified as overweight. A 16-year old boy who is 5 foot 8 (68 inches) tall with a weight over 159 pounds would be classified as overweight or obese.
Growth charts look at a 16-year old’s weight compared to others of the same height, age, and sex. A “healthy” weight looks different for every person depending on many factors. Although more health data must be collected to determine if someone is healthy, BMI can be a good screening tool to get baseline information. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t appear to be “normal”, check with your health professional. A single measurement on a growth chart is not as important as changes over time and overall trends in growth.
Using and Interpreting Growth Charts for Teens
Growth charts might seem complicated to look at, but once you understand how they work and how to interpret them, you will be better equipped to talk with your healthcare provider about your overall health.
As children and teenagers grow and develop, what is considered a “healthy” weight range is also constantly shifting. Below are the steps to use and interpret a growth chart for a 16-year old!
- Calculate BMI. This can be done by hand, but the CDC has created an online calculator that makes it easy to figure out BMI.
- Pick the correct growth chart. There are two different growth charts, one for girls and one for boys. Both growth charts are shown below.
- Find your age at the bottom of the graph. Then trace the grid line up the growth chart until you find the line corresponding with the BMI on the sides of the graph. You can then interpret the spot where those two lines cross!
- You will see the percentiles to the right of the growth chart. The growth charts below are color-coded to make it easier to read. The red area (>95%) is classified as obese, yellow (85-95%) is classified as overweight, green (5-85%) is normal weight, and blue (<5%) is underweight.
- Your healthcare team should look at percentile trends over time as you grow. If you are outside of the green zone, there is no need to panic, but your doctor or dietitian should do more analysis and keep an eye on the trends to make sure everything is on track!
For Girls. Image Courtesy of Penn State PRO Wellness
For Boys. Image Courtesy of Penn State PRO Wellness.
What is a Healthy Weight for a 16-Year Old?
A healthy weight for a 16-year old is technically defined as having a BMI between the 5th and 85th percentiles. However, with so many factors at play, there is not a specific weight for all 16-year old’s to aim for.
According to the CDC growth charts, for a 16-year old female at 64 inches tall (5 feet 4 inches) a weight between 98 and 143 would be classified as healthy. For a 16-year old male at 68 inches tall (5 feet 8 inches) a weight between 113 and 158 pounds would be classified as healthy. Sex, age, height, weight all make a difference in determining a “healthy” weight. You can’t compare yourself to someone of a different age (even by months!) or height.
What is healthy for one person may not be healthy for another person. In fact, teens that fall in a “healthy” weight range according to BMI and growth charts, might still not be considered healthy when looking at eating and exercise habits.
16-year olds should understand that weight and body shape are not the main indicator of health. They should also be able to recognize and appreciate body diversity. If you find yourself comparing your body shape and weight to those around you, it might be time to take a step back and rethink how you view your health.
What Factors Can Impact a 16-Year Old’s Weight?
16 is often the age where teens begin to experience more freedom. Driving opens up a whole new world of independence. This is also the time they get to make more of their own decisions that impact their health.
Eating and exercise are two factors that teens have the greatest control over. However, those are not the only two areas that impact health and weight.
Not getting enough sleep is one factor that can negatively impact weight. 8-10 hours of sleep per night is usually adequate for most 16-year olds.
Mental health status is another factor that can impact weight. When the body is constantly feeling stressed, the way it stores fat is actually different because certain hormone levels are elevated. The prevalence of anxiety and depression are also growing. These can impact appetite and lead to eating even when the body does not truly need food.
Teenagers should learn to cope with negative emotions without using food. This might mean seeing a therapist, practicing meditation, finding new hobbies, trying a new medication, or something else.
Should a 16-Year Old Go on a Diet?
There is a lot of peer pressure at play when you are 16-years old. Dieting might seem like an appealing and popular option for improving health and appearance, but the truth is, dieting usually causes more harm than good. Disordered eating often stems from attempted dieting.
Teenagers should not participate in any kind of restrictive diet. Eating too few calories and cutting out food groups can lead to missing out on key nutrients essential for this time of growth.
If you are in the overweight or obese category, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider. Being at a higher weight does not necessarily mean you are unhealthy. They can help determine your overall health status and help you make positive health changes regardless of the number on the scale.
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When Should a 16-Year Old Lose Weight?
If weight loss is ever recommended by a doctor or dietitian, it should be done under direct supervision of a healthcare professional. However, weight loss is rarely advised for 16-year olds.
The main goal should be to slow the rate of weight gain, rather than to lose weight. Find small ways to include more healthy habits in your daily routine.
With your body changing and your weight fluctuating, you may be tempted to go to extreme measures to change your weight with the hope that it will make you feel better about your body. However, positive, lasting health changes never come out of a place of self-deprecation or of hating your body.
Instead of trying to change your body, focus on healthy eating and exercise habits that make your body feel good! Your body weight will settle into a healthy weight range when you have good health habits and listen to your body.
If loving your body feels like too much of a challenge right now, at least practice body respect. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind if you are struggling with body image.
- My body is strong and resilient.
- My body keeps me alive.
- My body helps me do all the things I love.
- My body takes care of me even when I don’t always give it what it needs.
Healthy Eating Habits for a 16-Year Old
- Get a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat at every meal and snack. Carbohydrates provide energy. Protein is like the building block of the body. Fat provides satiety and absorption of important vitamins. All are important and work together to help you feel energized and satisfied.
- Remove distractions when you eat. Try to take at least one meal per day where you can just focus on what you are eating. Focus on how the food tastes, smells, looks, and the texture in your mouth.
- Try to include a fruit or vegetable every time you eat. These food groups contain so many vitamins and minerals that help the body recover, rebuild, grow, and develop.
- Sit down at the table to eat your meals. Rather than snacking on things as you walk around the kitchen, actually make an effort to sit and eat a full meal.
- Take moments to stop and evaluate your hunger and fullness levels while you eat. Try to find that point at which you feel satisfied without getting overly full.
- Do not go a long time without eating. The body needs food regularly throughout the day. You are also much more likely to overeat if you go too long between eating. It is much harder to be mindful when you get overly hungry.
Healthy Exercise Habits for a 16-Year Old
- Try to get moving for at least 60 minutes per day. Find fun activities that help you stay active. Exercise can also improve stress levels. It doesn’t have to be all at once, small periods of time throughout the day are great.
- Include movement that gets your heart rate up and movement that strengthens your muscles and bones. Many activities and sports are great for both.
- Take breaks from sitting to get up and move around frequently.
The teenage years can sometimes be a challenging time. While it may be tempting to try and change your body to better fit in with your peers, make sure you are always taking care of your body and giving it the energy and nutrients that it needs. Work with a dietitian to make sure you are meeting all your nutritional needs.
With a combination of body respect and healthy habits, teenagers can reach a weight that is appropriate for their body and that will also help them feel their best.
What is Considered Overweight for a 16-Year Old? According to the CDC growth charts, a 16-year old girl at 64 inches tall would be classified as overweight above 144 pounds. A 16-year old boy at 68 inches tall would be classified as overweight above 159 pounds. Height, weight, age, and gender are important when determining weight classification. Speak with your doctor or dietitian if you have any concerns about weight.
What is the Normal Weight for a 16-Year Old Female? A 16-year old female who is 5 foot 4 inches tall (64 inches) would be classified as a healthy weight between 98 and 143 pounds. There is no “normal” weight for 16-year old teenage girls since everyone is growing at different rates.
What Weight Should a 16-Year Old Be in Stone? According to the CDC growth charts, a 16-year old female at 64 inches tall (5 foot 4 inches or 163 centimeters) would be classified as a healthy weight between 7 and 10.2 stone. A 16-year old male at 68 inches tall (5 foot 8 inches or 173.4 cm tall) would be classified as a healthy weight between 8 and 11.3 stone.
How Much Should a 16-Year Old Boy Weigh? According to the CDC growth charts, a 16-year old boy at 68 inches tall would be classified as a healthy weight between 113 and 158 pounds. There is no “normal” weight for a 16-year old teenage boys since everyone is growing at different rates.
What is the Average Weight for a 16-Year Old? The average weight for a 16-year old girl is 118 pounds (53.5 kg or 8.4 stone) with a height of around 64 inches (5 foot 4 inches or 162.5 cm tall).The average weight for a 16-year old boy is 134 pounds (60.8 kg or 9.6 stone) with a height of around 68.3 inches (5 foot 8.3 inches or 173.4 cm tall).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About Child and Teen BMI. Cdc.gov. Published March 17, 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood Obesity Causes and Consequences. Published March 19, 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep in Middle and High School Students. Cdc.gov. Published September 10, 2020.
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