What is a Target Weight for a Teenager?

Shopping for clothes, discussions with friends, media and even doctor visits push teenagers to consider their weight. Adolescence also marks a time of significant growth and development. With these changes and the various body shapes and sizes of their peers, teenagers can experience confusion or dissatisfaction with their own body. In hopes of achieving the ideal body, they may want to know what is a  target weight for a teenager?

Through adolescence, important growth and maturation occurs. Trying to achieve a specific number on the scale might limit this crucial development. Instead of having a target weight as a goal, teenagers should work towards behavior focused goals such as eating more fruits and vegetables or moving more throughout the day. If concerned about weight, teenagers or parents can talk to their doctor. Healthcare professionals will use a variety of tools to assess health status and be able to provide science backed and safe recommendations for a healthy weight for your teenager.  

A target weight would be a weight which is considered “normal” and “healthy” on growth charts for your teenager’s age, sex, and height. A healthy BMI is generally considered to be above the 5th percentile and below the 85th percentile. While the BMI measurement has many limitations, it is often used in health assessments. Using multiple data points, a BMI age and sex appropriate growth chart can help teenagers know whether their growth falls into a normal range. Also, individuals should see a growth pattern where their BMI follows a similar percentile growth curve over time. However, a true healthy weight for a teenager will be unique to their mental health, circumstance and genetics. The BMI does not take into account these personal factors and cannot be used as the sole indicator of health. 

Continue reading more to find answers to other adolescent weight related questions. 

What is the Average Weight for Teenagers? 

The average weight for teenagers will depend on sex and age. Teenagers need to understand that an average weight simply shows a typical value calculated from a set of data collected. It does not in any way determine how much a teenager should weigh. An individual healthy weight depends on an almost countless number of factors including genetics, body composition, race, ethnicity, height, age, sex, health status, medical conditions and environment.

The following table from disabled-world.com displays average heights and weights for different ages and genders.

Teenage Females: 13 – 20 Years
AgeAverage WeightAverage Height
13 Years101.0 lb. (45.81 kg)61.7″ (156.7 cm)
14 Years105.0 lb. (47.63 kg)62.5″ (158.7 cm)
15 Years115.0 lb. (52.16 kg)62.9″ (159.7 cm)
16 Years118.0 lb. (53.52 kg)64.0″ (162.5 cm)
17 Years120.0 lb. (54.43 kg)64.0″ (162.5 cm)
18 Years125.0 lb. (56.7 kg)64.2″ (163 cm)
19 Years126.0 lb. (57.15 kg)64.2″ (163 cm)
20 Years128.0 lb. (58.06 kg)64.3″ (163.3 cm)
Teenage Males: 13 – 20 Years)
AgeAverage WeightAverage Height
13 Years100.0 lb. (45.36 kg)61.5″ (156.2 cm)
14 Years112.0 lb. (50.8 kg)64.5″ (163.8 cm)
15 Years123.5 lb. (56.02 kg)67.0″ (170.1 cm)
16 Years134.0 lb. (60.78 kg)68.3″ (173.4 cm)
17 Years142.0 lb. (64.41 kg)69.0″ (175.2 cm)
18 Years147.5 lb. (66.9 kg)69.2″ (175.7 cm)
19 Years152.0 lb. (68.95 kg)69.5″ (176.5 cm)
20 Years155.0 lb. (70.3 kg)69.7″ (177 cm

Keep in mind, a different height at any age would have a different “normal” weight. Just because your teen doesn’t hit the “average” weight does not mean they are not in a healthy weight range. Check on a growth chart, or speak with your child’s healthcare professional for any additional questions or concerns you have about their weight.

How Do I Know How Much my Teenager Should Weigh? 

A healthcare provider can provide guidance about whether a teenager’s growth is appropriate. However, even they cannot provide an exact number for what a teenager should weigh. A healthy weight comes from lifestyle choices that support well-being. Therefore, instead of using weight as a measurement of health, parents should focus on helping their children develop good dietary, physical activity and sleep habits. 

Pushing teenagers to lose or gain weight in order to weigh a certain amount contributes to disordered eating, poor body image, decreased mental health and feelings of stress or anxiety. In fact, healthcare professionals rarely counsel teenagers to lose weight as the subsequent malnutrition results in negative health outcomes. Rather, experts will encourage sustainable choices that support continued age appropriate development and encourage teenagers to continue to grow into their weight. 

Of course, some circumstances may call for guided weight loss or weight gain. Teenagers who show significant weight gain or weight loss and continue below the 5th percentile or over the 95th percentile with their weight may need this extra help. These interventions should always occur under the supervision of licensed professionals. 

Is it OK for My Teenager to Gain Weight Fast? 

Rapid weight gain and significant changes in body composition occur during puberty. For this reason, it may be a normal part of growth for teenagers to gain weight faster than usual. Boys generally start puberty by age 11 or 12 and slow or stop by age 16 to 18. Girls often start earlier at age 10 or 11 and stop by age 16. However, these ages are just generalizations and puberty can start even earlier for some individuals and end later. 

Again, data points on a growth chart can help with assessment of weight changes. Repeated data points that deviate significantly from a usual growth curve or percentile may indicate a need for professional involvement. Parents with concerns about their teenager’s weight should speak to their pediatrician and other health specialists. 

Is 200 Pounds too Much for a Teenager? 

For many teenagers, 200 pounds may indicate a need to make some dietary or other lifestyle changes. Yet for others, 200 pounds can still be a healthy weight. In particular, tall and muscular athletes can weigh 200 pounds or more and still be healthy. Check with your child’s healthcare provider if your child is 200 pounds and on the shorter height range, that may be concerning for other health issues.

Muscle tissue is more dense than fat tissue, causing muscular individuals to weigh more on a scale. Since BMI categories do not take into account body composition, a healthy athlete may see their BMI in the overweight category. For this reason, a weight or BMI can never act as the sole indicator of health. Rather, they should be used in conjunction with other health measurements and assessments.

See also:

What Percentage of Teenagers are Overweight? 

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted in  2017-2018 concluded:

  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 (16.1%) are overweight
  • Almost 1 in 5 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 (19.3%) have obesity
  • About 1 in 16 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 (6.1%) have severe obesity

The 2019 Youth Risk Surveillance System (YRBSS) results show that around 15.5% of high schoolers report obesity and 16.1% report an overweight BMI. The states in the U.S that included middle schoolers in the survey showed that 25-30.8% reported themselves as slightly or very overweight. 

What are some Healthy Habits for Teens?

Adequate and Quality Sleep

Teenagers should sleep 8-10 hours each night. Sleep affects social, mental, physical and cognitive heath. Teenagers choosing to place other activities before sleep experience a range of both short and long term health consequences. Some of the many benefits of sleep include:

  • Improved memory 
  • Sharper thinking
  • Better attention 
  • Decreased interpersonal conflict
  • Better mood/outlook
  • Lowered risk of depression and anxiety
  • Hormone regulation
  • Improved immunity
  • Better appetite regulation
  • Effective muscle and tissue repair
  • Better metabolic profile
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease

Daily Physical Activity

The advantages of physical activity go far beyond just burning calories. Daily movement protects physical, mental and emotional health. The CDC recommends sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. This amount may seem out of reach for some adolescents, but does not need to happen all at one time. Six ten minute sessions of movement throughout the day provides similar benefits to doing it all at once. Also, many activities count, not just running. Activities might include yard work, some household chores, walking, dancing, skating or playing tag with a little sibling.

Balanced Eating Pattern

Sometimes healthy eating seems to be synonymous with restriction. However, consuming a balanced eating pattern supports well-being far more than cutting calories.  A balanced diet means eating a variety of foods from each food group and allowing for treats and snacks in moderation. Completely limiting certain foods or nutrients can cause feelings of deprivation, isolation, intense cravings, binging and contribute to malnutrition. 

Teenagers should eat 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 10-30% from protein and 25-35% from fat. A simple meal guideline is to make half the plate fruits and vegetable and a quarter protein and a quarter grains. Those with specific dietary goals may want to seek additional information from a Registered Dietitian.

Managing Stress

Chronic stress can wreak more havoc on health than often realized. It can place teenagers at a higher risk of getting sick or injured and of using unsafe coping mechanisms. Unmanaged stress can also contribute to chronic disease and unhealthy lifestyle habits. Eliminating stress is not a feasible option and not healthy either. However, learning practices to help manage stress will benefit teens.

Some ideas include breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, healthy eating, prioritizing tasks, enjoying favorite pastimes, therapy and medical intervention when needed.

Staying Hydrated 

No single goal amount of liquid per day works for each individual. Hydration depends on a variety of factors such as weight, activity level, environment and genetics. The amount of liquid needed to stay properly hydrated will also change for the same person depending on the day. Teenagers can stay hydrated by drinking liquids consistently throughout the day. Urine color provides an indicator of hydration and teens should strive for a pale yellow.

The best choices of liquids for hydration should contain no sweeteners. Examples include water, unsweetened milk and plant milks, herbal tea and 100% fruit juice. Staying hydrated keeps the mind clear, supports digestion, helps with temperature regulation, prevents dehydration, keeps body systems running correctly and promotes healthy skin and hair. 

What is the Best Way for Teenagers to Help Get to a Healthy Weight?

The teenage years are absolutely critical for the development of habits and an overall healthy lifestyle that can stick with you through the rest of your life. These years are full of social connections, sports, fad diets, and really just trying to figure out who you are going to be.

It’s imperative during these formative years that teens form good habits around nutrition and exercise that will help them avoid a lifetime of dieting and insecurity around their weight and fitness. Everybody (and every body) is a little different and we know that teens face plenty of pressure to both conform and to act out.

I wrote this book as a guide for teenagers to try and help them get to a healthy weight the right way- not with dumb diets or harmful behaviors- but with daily mindful habits that scale well through the rest of their lives.

So What’s in the Book?

  • 75+ pages with insightful infographics for quick tips
  • 11 week plan with actionable steps for teens to develop healthy habits
  • 5 week meal plan to help you eat well and eat right
  • Sections directed at both teens, as well as their parents
  • Healthy snack list recommendations
  • Tips for gaining or losing weight the healthy way
  • Calculations for daily calorie needs
  • …And More

Check it out here: https://www.fuelingteens.com/downloads/lose-weight-for-teens/

Mockup Teen Weight Loss eBook

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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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