Teenage Weight: When A Jump in Your Teen’s Weight May Not Be A Concern

This article on adolescent  pre-puberty weight gain is part of a series on teenage nutrition. You can read the beginning articles in the series here: “What Is On Your Family’s Breakfast Plate” and “Teenage Nutrition: Why You Should Pick This Battle For Your Adolescent.” We are very excited to bring you this and hope you feel comfortable to add your own thoughts, tips and suggestions. If you want to read more on teenage  and general nutrition, please subscribe here to our newsletter and article updates.

Preteen and teenage weight gain: what can you expect?

During the preteen and teenage stages there are significant physical changes, including increased weight gain to help support height and physical growth. Some statistics:

  • Children gain on average between 30-40 pounds (13.5-18.0 kilograms) between age 11-14.
  • A child can gain 20 pounds (9 kilograms) or more in one year.
  • Girls gain weight first as a layer of fat all over the body and then more around breast, hip and thighs.
  • Girls appear “fat” before curves appear.
  • To support large increases in height and weight your preteen and teenager will be hungrier, will eat more and need to sleep more.
  • Weight gain during puberty accounts for about half of their adult ideal weight.

Weight gain in teens in normal and supports large growth period

It can be a concern to see your preteen or young teenager blossom in places, particularly when they have always been a lean child. Their weight gain is part of a transformation in physical growth and supports your teen’s increase in height. As an adolescent’s growth velocity (speed) increases, they physically begin to thin out and the weight gain is adjusted on their bodies.

Statistics on teenage height growth patterns:

  • The beginning of growth velocity is approximately 9 years old for girls and 11 years old for boys.
  • The growth spurt lasts 2-3 years.
  • Growth in height and weight occurs 1 1/2 to 2 years earlier for girls than boys.
  • On average, the peak in height growth is 11.5 years for girls and 13.5 years for boys.

If your teenage growth pattern is normal, why parents shouldn’t worry about weight gain during preteen and early teen years:

If your child suddenly gains more weight than you have seen them carry before, do not begin to panic. Normally, a larger weight gain is part of natural growth during preteen and early teen years. Worrying parents, in particular mothers with their daughters, can put unnecessary pressure on their teenager’s eating habits.

These are typical reactions from concerned parents who are worrying about their teen’s weight:

  • Talking to your teen too much about their eating habits
  • Encouraging them to eat less
  • Making comments such as “do you really need to eat this?” or “you are getting a little hefty”
  • Using food as a reward or bribe
  • Having your child weigh themselves on a regular basis

These comments and actions can be damaging to a teenager’s self esteem, hurting their perception of their body and weight image and can lead to more eating problems.

The critical reasons we need to be careful with the weight and body image words we say to our kids:

With an estimated half a million teens in America with eating disorders, we need to be aware that the comments and looks we give to our kids and their eating habits and body image can have long-lasting effects.

Is there a time when we should be concerned with a teenager’s weight issues?

There are two times:  if a teenager loses or gains a significant amount of weight during a short period of time. If a child is overweight or obese before puberty, education on healthy eating is a critical part of a teen having a successful body image. A child should never be put on a diet, but support for teen on good food choices and physical activity can help a child potentially make their ideal weight during teenage years. If your teenager gains a lot of weight during their preteen or teen growth period but does not thin out or stay weight stable, this is a signal that they may have a potential overweight issue. If at the end of your teen’s growth period, approximately 13-14 years old for girls, and 15-16 years old for boys, your child is overweight, it is best to seek a health professional’s advice on getting your teen on track with a healthier weight.

Here are some articles published from this series on teenage nutrition. Feel free to click on the links here:

Teenagers and Energy Drinks, Teens and Endocrine Disruptors, Teens and Eating Disorders, Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Teens, Teens and Caffeine, Importance of Good Nutrition in Teens, Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in Teens,Vegetarianism in Teens. and Hormone Changes in Teens Affect Their Smell.

If you like what you have read here, I would greatly appreciate you sharing it. It may help the next person who is worried about their teen’s weight. Or if you have reached the end and want to read more articles on teens or general health please subscribe to our monthly newsletter and regular article updates. By subscribing you will get your free E-report on  “10 Simple Ways to Eat Like the French Without Having the Food Snob Attitude”. You can join us by clicking on the button below.

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Wishing you success with your teen. If you have any questions please leave some feedback in the comment section or via email at : mbrighton@brightonyourhealth.com

Statistics for this article were taken from Adolescent Health Curriculum.


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68 Responses to “Teenage Weight: When A Jump in Your Teen’s Weight May Not Be A Concern”

  1. my son was of average weight when he started school,he quickly became overweight and now struggles with it. Now at the age of 11 he is starting to put more weight on and broadening. I do not know how to help him without effecting his self esteem.

    • Hi Erica, excellent question about how to ‘be concerned’ re: your child’s weight without hurting their self-esteem. Words connected with weight can be harsh and have long-lasting affects. As I mentioned in the article, we as parents need to be careful on how we approach our children who DO need to ‘watch their weight.’ If your son is in that category, he is not alone. On average, he should start puberty in about 2 years (although you will see pre puberty signs earlier). The goal with kids like him (in general) is to keep them active and provide a good healthy diet, and hopefully he will grow into his weight during the big growth period during puberty. He is also gaining weight now to support this big growth spurt that will come.
      I could recommend, as a start, to just keep him very active. You don’t need to tell him why. This means keeping him in sports, year round, but also this means being active with him. Going together bike riding, walking, etc….
      The other step I would take is to keep a balanced diet in the house and healthy snacks /drinks (only water or milk) available. Fun foods on the weekends and for parties. You don’t have to tell him why, in fact, it could be a family effort to have a good healthy diet for everyone to follow.
      I hope this two ideas are helpful, as a start. Keep the whole family active, keep the whole family eating healthy. Check out the category on the site for “infants/children/teens”, there are a lot of other articles on child nutrition that could be helpful.
      Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

  2. this article really helped me my son too has gained alot of weight and DOES NOT WANT TO STAY ACTIVE .. he played football 4yrs and this yr HE IS HEAVIER OUT OF SHAPE AND DOES NOT WANT TO CONTINUE TO PLAY…………. i keep trying to feed him positive words and encourage him to be active …. he loves his xbox and i’m having a hard time having him let go of that …… i’m feeling very defeated ……. also , he has always been an excellent student and now does not like school …. or wanna do well …..whats happening to my baby ……. I don’t like it …..!!! thank you cyndi

    • Hi Cyndi,
      How old is your son?
      Any other life changes for him that you might know about? If your son has had quick changes in his behavior: lost interest in school, grades going down, lost interest in activities that he used to love (like sports) he may need an outside consultation with a professional to see what could be the problem. Why not have a deep talk with his doctor and an honest talk with your son? There may be deeper issues going on for him.
      I know it cannot be easy for you as his mom. Seek support with any resources for you that are available (even counselors at his school). In the meantime, stay strong and be a good ‘health’ role model for your son. Cook, eat and be healthy, including getting yourself out for some walks. Invite your son too.
      Please let me know if you have any questions and let me know how things are going.

  3. Mary, I have a 14 year-old daughter who has put on considerable weight in the last 6 months. She is going to 8th grade this fall and I am very concerned. She eats healthy, however, she eats a lot. She runs track; approximately 12-15 miles per week and with that, she still continues to put weight on. We are an active family and all involved in some type of sport. She started her period in December 2011 and had a period in January and February 2012. She did not have another one until this month (August). I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and eventually had my thyroid removed. I am wondering if this could be a problem that is now affecting her. I don’t know how to discuss this issue with her without causing any problems with her self-esteem.

    • Hi Norma,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. You have legitimate concerns about your daughter’s weight gain. On top of that, as you said, you must be worried on the right way to approach the issue without damaging her self-esteem.
      Your medical issue with hyperthyroidism would normally cause you to lose weight. With HYPOthyroidism we have a tendency to gain weight. The thyroid controls many factors in our body, it is important to be sure that you (and your daughter) do not have any thyroid issues. A healthy 14 year old would normally not have thyroid problems, however, it is something to mention to your doctor.
      Great that your daughter participates in active sport. All teenagers go through a growth spurt with weight gain. For teenage girls, it is earlier than boys. What would be interesting is to see if your teenager has gone through her “growth spurt” yet. In fact, a good measurement of her height and weight could show where she is with her growth spurt compared to the year prior.
      Is it her weight that has increased (by the scale) or can you tell be looking at her? If she has grown in height along with her weight, she might be on the right track.
      How does her track coach at school push the kids with their weight? Is the coach a good influence on your daughter and the other teammates with regards to healthy eating and weight or does the coach push the kids too hard (either to perform or too keep their weight down)? Some kids find that the pressure from coaches make them eat more because they feel deprived.
      If I were you, I would make an appointment with your family doctor (the doctor that your daughter goes to) and explain to your daughter that it is for a checkup. Then call the doctor’s office and ask to speak with the doctor/nurse ahead of time to explain your concerns without your daughter present (or write a short letter to the doctor). This is so the doctor can better assess whether or not your daughter is in a normal growth spurt or whether she has gained too much weight in a short period of time. Also explain to the doctor (either on the phone ahead of time or in the office) that you are concerned that your thyroid dysfunction might run in the family and that you would like to be sure your daughter is okay. I know you don’t want to speak about this subject too much in front of your daughter and I believe you are right.
      The age of your daughter (14 ) is one that is semi-freedom….in the sense that she probably spends some time alone with friends, hanging out…having snacks and sodas? This is a time to be vigilant and to encourage your daughter to choose healthy snacks with her friends and while at home.
      It isn’t always easy to talk to a teenager about issues such as these. Especially girl teenagers. But I think your concerns are valid and short encouragements and education on healthy snacking and better drink choices are warranted.
      That in combination with a ‘check up’ to the doctor (with a private conversation ahead of time) to see how her growth spurt/weight is going.
      Please let me know how things are and if you have any questions.
      Best to you and your daughter,

  4. Renee Griffith December 2, 2012 at 04:51 Reply

    Please help, I feel like such a bad parent!! Have I failed my child?
    I have a 12 year old son who is 5’3 and weighs bout 155 lbs ( his pediatrician says that he is above charts for his height and weight and he should/ will be fine once he has his growth spurt). His possible projection on height might be about 6 foot tall.
    Anyway, his weight gain started more in elementary school with all the food as rewards/ cafeteria food etc… ( not to blame cause I have my part in this cause I made a mistake of becoming a short order cook). He is pretty active with his sports being tackle football / baseball/ golf..also he is doing speed and agility training now that football season is over about 2-3 times a week..he is so very picky about the only so called healthy foods he eats is yogurt / baked chips/ ham n chz sandwich / spaghetti / he will do BBQ chicken but whines about it…we do eat out way to much and r starting to refocus that..but how do I verbalized to him about loosing weight??? He doesn’t seem to want to do what it takes to loose weight …I feel bad for him also cause most of his friends are tiny and eat and ton .. He asks me mom why can’t I eat like that ??
    Any thoughts or ideas??? Please…I am at my breaking point …I don’t know if I just sit him down and say here is what we r gonna do to get ya to the weight u need to be healthy or just kind of watch it like our pediatrician says and see what does happen during his growth spurt???
    Thank u so much in advance!!!

  5. Hi Renee, Thanks very much for your question. Do not get down on yourself, you have not failed your child and you are on the right track. It is not too late for him to be a good weight for height.
    His growth spurt, on average (for boys) will start when he is 13 years old. He is gaining weight now to support his large growth spurt. Also, he is hungrier now because of his body’s preparation for this growth spurt.
    You said you didn’t want to verbalize your concerns about your son’s need to loose weight. I understand this and I do appreciate (as I mentioned in the article) that parents need to be careful on how they verbalize comments to their children about their weight.
    I could suggest to talk to him about it in the following way:
    sit him down and discuss his physical activity (sport) schedule and use the opportunity to add how eating healthy can help him in his sport better. This is especially true with regard to hydration and eating a balanced diet. Instead of focusing on loosing weight you could use the opportunity to encourage good eating habits for optimal sport performance.
    Also, doing sport builds muscle (especially football) he will naturally be a stronger type of child than one who doesn’t do any physical activity.
    If you can keep a very good eye on how things are going in the next year or two, hopefully he will grow tall (as the doctor said) while thining out.
    Right now, at 12 years old he is laying down weight and fat for this growth spurt.
    It can be beneficial to your whole family to make healthier lifestyle changes and eat more of a balanced diet. If you make efforts, your son will follow eventually. Be strong!
    Another idea is to be quite ‘strict’ with the food and exercise plan that your family and son follow during the week and on the weekend allow those ‘forbidden or less healthy foods.’
    Hope these ideas are helpful. Please let me know how things are doing. If you have any questions, please let me know.
    Best in health, Mary

  6. Im concern of my weight, I am 15 years old, and i gain about 10 pounds and i have tried to lose them but i cant, my normal weight was 110, but now im weighting 120, and i dont know if its normal, i havent change my eating habbits and i do eat very healthy, i do excercise everyday and i cant lose them. Is it normal for a teen to gain that much weight in a short amount of time?

    • Hi Claudia, What period of time did you gain the weight? 1 month, 6 months? What is your current height? Have you grown in height at the same time? The winter season is also a time where we gain a few pounds because of moving less and eating more. I would continue what you are doing (eating healthy and exercising daily) and see how things are during the Spring. You are at the age where you are moving through adolescence toward becoming a young woman-your body will change with it. Perhaps this weight is what you should be at. Keep positive and let me know how you are doing, your height and in what period of time you gained your weight.

  7. My daughter just turned 12. She has had a very very active year. She began running, and runs apx 20 miles per week, as well as swimteam which is 3 days a week of vigorous activity. She is a vegetraian by choice (and with her doctor’s ok – but does eat fish, eggs, beans, tofu for protein) and eats ALOT! She only gained 2 lbs during the past year – which is a departure from her previous years. Her BMI is 61%. The doctor was not overly concerned because of her increased activity, but stressed that she must gain at least 7 lbs over the next year with a weight check in in the summer. My mom antenna is up and I am a bit worried – would love to know your thoughts on this.

    • Hi Pat! I can understand your doctor’s concern, your daughter is entering into a large height growth time. Her weight should be increasing to support this. While it may be difficult to put an actual ‘number’ on how much your daughter should gain it is important to be sure she is eating enough to support her physical activity. For her BMI, do you mean 16% rather than 61% ? Were you or her dad thin when you were her age? I wouldn’t worry too much about the actual number ‘7 lbs’ but I would focus on giving her healthy meals and filling snacks for after her runs and swims (especially after swimming-which is a good time to get a high calorie healthy snack into her). Please let me know if you have any questions and let me know about her BMI (16%?) . Thank you, Mary

  8. My name is Ellis, (male) am 18 years old. i started to gain alot of weight last year during spring. I’ve went from 127 to 157, 30 pounds. I had remained 127 through out my junior high school and highschool and all of a sudden i started to gain alot of weight. I play sports everyday and i eat alot, im starting to eat more now than before. i havent grow tall since graduating elementary school going into junior high school and i am 5.6. I would like to know your thoughts on this. Thank you

    • Hi Ellis, thanks very much for your question. To gain a large amount of weight in a short time requires a trip to the doctor for a checkup. Unless you can understand yourself what is going on (big changes in eating habits), then I recommend a physical with your doctor. Please let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!

  9. hello my son from the age of seven has gained weight and keeps doing so we took him to the doctors as we are worried about him he was 61kilos and should be 49 for his age now 12 and his height asked if it could be his thyroid as he often looks puffy in his face and his stomach always looks bloated she said she didnt think so but would do a blood test if we wanted

    • Hi Tracey, If the doctor wanted to do a blood test, why not? But what do you think is happening? Sometimes that bloated look can be from too much salt, sugar in the diet , and not enough exercise and fresh air. I don’t know if this is the case since I don’t know your son’s history. How does he eat? The key at 12 years old is that he WILL be hungry, but if he eats a healthy diet and gets out there and move…he could go thru the next 2-3 years and grow up in height and thin out a bit.

  10. Hi;
    My 15 year old son was 106 last February. He is currently 98. He has been going up and down from 93 to 98 for the past 8 months. Blood work performed last July was normal. He eats dinner, but thats about it. I’ve try supplement drinks and a healthy diet per his Pediatrician and nutrionistist, but nothing has work. Liquid wise, he only wants water which a course is healthy, but i would like something else in his body at this point. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions

  11. My daughter is 13, 5’7 and 95 lbs and she hasn’t gained ANY weight since she was about 11 and 5’1, should I be concerned?

    • While it is difficult to do an accurate assessment just with numbers, I can tell you that your daughter’s BMI (body mass index) is less than 15. This is considered underweight (as a number). Some children are healthy at a BMI of 15 because they genetically are thin but still eat well. However, I would recommend a full assessment for her from her doctor to rule out any health problems/disordered eating habits. Two years at the same weight is quite a long time, especially with such a big jump in height. Let me know if you have any questions.

  12. My daughter is 15 and was weighed in December at her check up. She was 88 lbs. down about 6 lbs. from last year. Not sure what is causing the weight loss. Although I attribute this to too much computer time and not getting out of her chair for meals and snacks. On weekdays she skips breakfast and eats lunch at school as well as an after school snack and dinner at home. During the weekends, has 2 meals. We are due to return to the doctor this week, we’ve been weighing her but she still has not gained weight since December. Yes, computer time is limited as best as we can, it becomes a battle at times. She has a learning disability and being on the computer helps her keep occupied, because most of the time she is bored.

    • Hello! Thanks for your question. How tall is your daughter? Her weight loss is a big concern. She should be gaining weight. Please keep in close touch with your doctor to explore any medical reasons why she is losing weight. In her case, she could benefit from eating breakfast. This may not be easy to implement, but she should be having a daily breakfast. Even a yogurt and slice of toast, or a granola bar and a yogurt drink, she needs to eat something in the morning. Because of her weight loss, she could also have a snack before she goes to sleep: a bowl of cereal, toast with butter or a yogurt.
      Good luck, your daughter needs more calories and some additional nudging from you to get her to eat more.
      She could also take a multivitamin daily which could help her since she has experienced a large weight loss (almost 10% of her body weight) in the last year.
      Let us know how she is doing.

  13. Why would my 16 year old Daughter loose 1 1/2 ” in height? in the last year?

  14. Please help… My 17 yr old son (he just turned 17 at the end of January) went from 155 to 144 pounds, Please tell me if this is something I should be worried about (I am anyway) We just had blood work done recently and are waiting results. I am sick with concern now. Do boys go through this weight loss at this age? He has not really increased his activity (he is not athletic at all) He has been walking a bit more but nothing substantial. He recently got his first girlfriend and is happy and not depressed or anything. He says he feels fine but is a bit more tired than normal for him, had a cold that has hung on for about 4 weeks now… mostly nasal mucus now only.

    • Wendy, Could you please tell me his height and in what period of time he has lost his weight? He has lost 11 lbs, which is about 7% of his body weight. If this has happened in a short period of time (6 months or less) than this is a cause of concern. He is being seen by a doctor? Boys do not ‘normally’ go through weight loss at 17 years old. See what the results of the blood test say and let me know how things go. I can understand how worrisome it is for you to see your son lose this weight and I hope that nothing is seriously wrong.

  15. My daughter is 17,146 cm and weighs 60 kg. In the last one year she has gained around
    6 kg and in the past one or two weeks only she has gained 4 kg. Her thighs and hips and abdomen has gained lot of muscle.For her small height we gave her growth hormone for four months(with the endocrinologist prescribing it),two months back she stopped taking it.Her hair also has grown longer which otherwise do not grow much.she had clean skin but since one and half years she is getting lot of pimples on face,chest and back.she had attained puberty at the age of 10 yrs.we live in saudi arabia. she is good in studies. I am her mother suffering from hypothyroidism since last six years and have both knee joint osteoporosis.Her thyroid lab tests and thyroid gland scanning was done two times,it were normal. We parents are of average height(me 5 feet and my husband 5 feet 41/2 inches).No one in our families are of her height but one of her paternal aunt was obese from 17 years of age.I am so much worried about her.please reply me as soon as possible.what could be the cause and what should I do?please help me.
    Thankyou so much in advance.

    • Hi Asma, I apologize if I didn’t reply sooner (I thought I did, but it looks as if the comment didn’t go thru).
      You daughter is 17 and is nearing the end of her growth period. She is 146 cm (1.46 meters) is this correct? Yes, if this is correct, your daughter, at 60 kg is considered overweight. For your daughter to gain 4 kg in a week or two this is a lot of weight. She may be genetically inclined to be larger size but her diet could be improved to help her to lose weight (or at least not gain anymore).
      Perhaps the growth hormone influenced her recent weight gain. It is difficult for me to answer specifically on how to help your daughter. It sounds like she is getting good medical treatments. I could recommend that you look for a dietitian in your country (or nutritionist) that could provide a more personalized plan of action. Also, your daughter could benefit from regular physical activity (one hour a day 5-6 times a week).
      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.
      Let me know if you have any questions.
      Warmly, Mary

  16. Hi. My 16 year old daughter is 5’3″ and currently weighs 102 lbs. In January she weighed 123 but in less than 3 weeks she lost 21 pounds without trying. After having bloodwork done twice her primary care physician noted that her TSH value was a bit out of range (0.326) but T4 and T3 values were fine. Suspecting that she might be hyperthyroid, an ultrasound of her thyroid gland was done. Those results were negative and there was no enlargement or nodules. All other bloodwork had values in range except for low Vitamin D.
    Her weight has remained constant since the dramatic weight loss. Her appetite is good and although she eats a fair amount of fast food she also eats healthy foods as well. Her doctor does not appear to be very concerned. He simply recommended an evaluation with an endocrinologist which I have scheduled for late July (the first available appointment). That’s a long time to wait for answers!
    Can her weight loss be attributed to loss of baby fat? I know she is worried why she would lose so much weight so quickly and I would like to give her some kind of reassurance.

    • Hi Sherrie, Thank you for your question and comment. I can understand your concerns. I am not a doctor, but in my professional opinion as a dietitian, this large amount of weight loss in a very short period of time (approximately 20% of her body weight) is not attributed to loss of baby fat. Your doctor seems to be very on top of things, and luckily all seems to be in order. I agree that July is a long time to wait to speak to an endocrinologist, but hopefully he/she will share some light on the reasons for this weight loss. I can only suggest to reassure your daughter that things seem okay at the moment and that she is healthy and weight stable. Please keep in touch and hope all seems to stay fine without any changes. Warmly, Mary

  17. Hi I’ve just turned 13 and I started gaining weight when I was 10 only slightly though but when I got to 12 I put on a lot of weight I now weigh 12.13 and I always blamed myself and I didn’t know why I way so big because I don’t really eat any junk food and I love salad. I’m always hungry and I can’t control it but after reading what’s above I have more of an understanding now but I’d like to ask is there anymore information you can give me if its ok can you email me thanks -lauren

    • Hi Lauren, Thanks very much for your comment. I will email you and try to worry about your weight, it is probably part of your normal growing pattern. Keep eating well and exercising and will be in touch. Warmly, Mary

  18. Hi my names Alison, I’m 11, I’m 5″1, and I wiegh 109 pounds, i feel over sized.
    I did this test and found out my body mass is 20.6980 and apparently that’s normal but I still feel super insecure, and it doesn’t help when my mom says ” go on the treadmill it will do you good!” because it makes me feel like she’s implying something. So am I over weight? And is it normal to feel so insecure you don’t want to wear shorts or tank tops?

    • Hi Alison, Thanks so much for your comment. The fact that you are asking me this question means that you are really concerned. Yes, you are in the normal sized BMI category but the fact that you feel over-sized and insecure means that you still do not feel happy with these numbers. I can tell you that your age is a time where you normally gain a little extra weight to support your soon to happen growth spurt. Your mom, when she tells you to jump on the treadmill is probably not implying about your weight, but about you being fit and in shape-something very important for teens. I can tell you to please try to talk to your mom about her question and your insecurities-yes, it is normal to feel insecure about not wanting to wear shorts or tank tops. This is not an easy period in your life with feeling insecure- you are not the only one, so do not worry. Try to eat healthy and do some sport /exercise and get enough sleep. All these things will help you to feel secure in yourself. If you still feel insecure when you reach 12 and then 13 try to open your heart to someone that can help you to feel better in yourself. Sometimes weight is just an issue to other underlying insecurites. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions or other concerns. Warmly, Mary

  19. My son who will be 12 in October has gained 15 pounds since December. He’s gotten really thick and chubby around his midsection and thick all over. My husband is very critical that he is getting fat. He’s always been active but not as much right now. He wants to play football but with his present weight of 111 pounds, he will only be able to block. He is right at 5 ft tall. I feel like he’s getting a complex from his father and brother. Is this a normal stage or do I really need to worry about his weight?

    • Hi Beverly, that is about 2 pounds a month since December. As he isn’t very active right now some of his weight gain could be from this more sedentary lifestyle. I would recommend keeping an eye on it and pushing him to be more active. He is really at the point where some weight gain is normal because he will be starting a big growth spurt in the next 6 months to a year but on the other hand these 15 pounds should be at the limit of his pre-growth spurt weight gain. Let me know if you have any questions. Warmly, Mary

  20. Hi Mary,
    My son will be 12 in April. Since July he has gained about 40 pounds. I know it is normal to gain weight during this time in his life but I am worried about how much he has gained in such a short time. He has several diagnoses such as ADHD, anxiety disorder, mood disorder not specified and ODD. He is on meds that could cause weight gain however he wasn’t on any of those meds for a little over a month and he still gained over 10 pounds in that month. His doctor just tested him for several things including thyroid which came back normal. His cholesterol levels are high and his fasting blood sugar is borderline high. Any insight would be great as we have been dealing with his weight issues as well as his behavioral issues for months now.

    • Hi Rhiannon, First off I am sorry for these worries for your son, it must be frustrating to see his weight gain without a real known cause. 40 pounds is a lot of weight, I can see why your doctor has run some tests. I can add that for your son, as a growing preteen, 40 pounds is more than we would expect to see. Without looking closely at his diet it is difficult to see what is going on. Have you noticed any changes? Is your son hoarding or taking food into his room and eating it? Any stress at home or school that would cause a change in behavior/eating habits?
      What I can recommend at the moment is to support your son with this weight gain. Do not make comments or try to be too strict with his eating, but observe his eating and drinking. Are there any changes that might lead to this weight gain?
      Let me know how things are going….I know I am not much help, but I do empathize with you….
      as they say in French, “courage” .

  21. Hey, my name is Ximena and I’ve been concerned about my body. I don’t really care about my weight, rather than how I look in my clothes. But, I hit puberty at a young age. (8) And I’ve gained 30 pounds somewhere in my preteen years, (late 11 or early 12) I’m thirteen now, and I’ve read articles concerning my condition. I believe it’s called “Precocious puberty” and they recently put age 8 as “normal.” The problem is, I’ve read I’m supposed to end puberty around ages 14-15. Which is significantly near, AND I LOOK NOWHERE NEAR READY! I’ve gained thirty pounds that were meant to become my “curves” and “breasts” but so far, I have small love handles and I’ve been an A-cup since I was 11 or 10. I feel I should appear more “womanly,” but I resemble girls at my school who just hit puberty last year. I’m semi-confident about my body, but I sometimes wonder if there’s something wrong with me. I already hit my growth spurt, I’m supposed to keep growing but I’m still the same height since last year. I know shortness doesn’t nescessarily run in my family, my brother is fairly tall and I’m barely 5’1! I’m supposed to finish puberty next year or the year after that, and I’m still so short! I really want to reach at least 5’4, but I’ve been losing hope. The only thing that’s been feeding me any hope is the fact that I might “fill-out” a lot better. I’m too big to be considered a “thin” girl, but too flat to be a “curvy” girl. I really hate the thought of being normal, I’ve always wanted to fill out and get an hourglass shape when I’m older. I don’t care much about my shape now if I’m positive I’ll look better in the future, but at this rate I’m losing hope. :/
    (P.S. I’m fairly active.)

    • Dear Ximena, Big apologies for this late reply. I understand your concerns about your height, and your body. I sense that you are confident about your appearance but you question if you will continue with puberty and whether you will fill out in your breast area and in height. I would really recommend a detailed visit with your General Practitioner (doctor) with your concerns. A doctor can look at your physical appearance and check at what state you are in puberty. The statistics you read online about puberty (age it stops, etc) are GENERAL, there are always exceptions. The fact that ‘hit’ puberty at a young age is another reason to have a detailed visit with a doctor. You are still young (13 years old), and you have years ahead of you until you reach ‘womenhood.’ Stay active and hopeful. I wish I could help you more, I feel that you need a medical view on your hormones and state of puberty and this is not my area of expertise. As far as the weight is concerned, keep active and eat well. By staying the same weight you will continue to develop your body’s shape. Let me know if you have any questions. Mary

  22. My daughter is 18 and struggled with anexoria years ago. Recently, she started rapidly gaining weight (9+ pounds in 2-3 weeks). She is freaking out mentally and her doctor is not really”listening”. So she is 5’3″ and had been 110, now at 119, while this seems like no big deal to others it’s a huge deal to her. She was previously diagnosed with autoimmune and iron deficiency as well. She was put on bc pills to help related her hormones for purposes of the migraines she was getting. She has been on these for 5 months and did gain about 4 lbs initially. Any suggestions on where to get some help?

    • Dear GP, Your doctor doesn’t seem aware on how this weight gain can affect your daughter’s anxiety. I would suggest a private call to her doctor or the nurse working with the doctor to push them to understand your daughter’s weight fears. Plus, this much weight in 2-3 weeks is quite a lot. If after a private phone call her doctor is not willing to put more effort into finding out what is happening, I would suggest getting a second opinion or changing doctors.
      Let me know what is happening… I hope you find answers, I am sorry I can’t be more helpful. Warmly, Mary

  23. I just turned 14 years old, 138 lbs, and 5′ 6. People tell me I look to be much thinner than I am. However, when I go to the doctor’s office and the nurses weigh me, I can tell that they are shocked at my weight.. keep in mind that all the nurses are very petite and I basically tower over them. Every year after I hit puberty I gained about 10 pounds and now I’m afraid I’ll be overweight after puberty and in the future. I justify my weight because I danced for a long period of time and because of my height. Is my weight normal?

  24. Hi,
    My daughter is 15 and has battled the past 10 months with excessive weight gain. Suddenly over Dec 13 she picked up about 5kg and we thought it was just the holidays. She started dieting in January. Leaving out all starches, especially bread. She rapidly increased her water intake and she joined the gym (going 4 days/week). NO WEIGHT LOSS AT ALL. I took her to the gynea in April and blood tests showed abnormal high levels of male hormone. Dr said that this could possible lead to PCOS. He did say that she still does not have PCOS but that he was going to treat her by prescribing the pill (Melodene) as well as cypla-progesterone. Shes been on this treatment since April with NO change in her weight. She is frantic about her weight and it is destroying her confidence. She is even getting stretch marks on her legs. Please can you suggest anything else we should have a look at. Regards Tandi

    • Hi Tandi, Empathetic with your daughter on her weight gain and not losing weight. It sounds like her doctor has things going in the right direction. I am not a doctor, but I do know that hormones (both internal and taken by pill) can affect weight and it sounds like your daughter has hormonal issues (that her doctor is taking control). The only recommendation I have is to seek a 2nd opinion (if possible) by another Gynecologist to seek advice on her hormones. This is a difficult period, to watch your daughter do everything and not lose weight, but this is par for the course with hormone issues. Hope this helps! Drop me a line if I can answer any other questions. Warmly, Mary

  25. You mentioned that one time for concern is a large weight gain or loss in a short period of time. Can you be a little more specific? My fourteen year old lost nearly 10 pounds in the last month. She is not trying to diet or lose weight. She is 5’5″ tall and 109 lbs right now. Should she be taken to the doctor about this or is this within a normal range? Thank you! (Even though your information about weight gain does not apply to this daughter, it is helpful in terms of my other daughter. I appreciate it!)

    • Hi Jean, a visit to the doctor to check your daughter would be my recommended idea. For anyone (child ,teen, adult), this weight loss in a short period is a concern. In the immediate moment, that would be my main concern. Yes, your daughter is underweight, but losing 10 pounds in one month without trying is a signal for a doctor checkup. Let me know how she is doing. All the best, Mary

  26. Hi my son is 9.6 and 5 foot 2 I was wondering what his heig by would be when he’s 18.He is 106.6 pounds and his parents are 5 foot 4 mother and 6 foot 0 father

  27. I have an above average sized boy. He has always been off the charts 99% percentile on the growth charts. This summer at the age of 12 (+9 months) he was about 230lbs and grew to about 6’1″. Still a bit heavy, but starting to look proportionate for his height. He played baseball for the summer and also rode his bike to the pool approx. 3x a week. Now that it is fall and school started…he plays football. He saw a lot of playing time, playing almost all snaps on offense and defense. But Recently, he was cut from the 7th grade basketball team for his lack of speed. He also started playing on a travel team and made that team. I watched a full practice, and he is struggling out there running the floor. Check his weight is now at 245lbs. What happened to my boy? He also turned 13 the week he was cut from basketball. Odd, since he played so much during football season. We do need to eat better and have better snacks. He is always always always so hungry, especially during football (saw that the prior year too). Since he got cut from the team, we are going to hit the cardio pretty hard…an hour a day everyday. My plan is treadmill, stationary bikes, and rowing machine. And maybe on somedays a second workout shooting hoops for another hour. So 6’1″, 245lbs, age 13, 0 months. His pediatrician has always projected him to grow taller than his dad (6’5″). This is such a hard time for him…many tears.

    • Dear BigFootBoy, Thanks for your heartfelt personal story about your son. What a shame that he was cut from the basketball team-that is such a great sport to keep the body moving and weight controlled. If your son is tired and has difficulties running the floor (as you said), maybe his diet before the game could be better controlled? Too much sugar (in soda pop and juices or in sweets/biscuits) can make a player tired after a short time. Your son, at 13 years old, is in the average age to be starting puberty (boys start at 13 on average). Teenagers in puberty need food but also a lot of sleep (9-10 hours a night). Keep supporting him through this process and know that a weight gain before puberty can sometimes be normal to support the huge height gains your son will reach until he is 15 years old + . Good luck, let me know how he is doing. Mary

  28. Hi
    I am 12 years old. I hit puberty when i was 11 and although I only gained like 5 kg during this time but my legs are really fat and my hips are also growing very big and my hands are also growing chubbier. My upper body is perfectly slim but I don’t know why the lower part of my body is growing fatter. My thighs will look perfectly slim if there not pressing against something. Like if I sit at the end of my bed with my thighs pressing against it they will spread and look really wide and fat which they probably are but if I just let my butt touch the bed and let my thighs dangling over they will look fine. I’ve had asthama since I was born but it got better after I was 3 but when I hit puberty my asthama came back worse this time. I was very active before but now when I tried to run a little I almost fainted because I couldn’t breath. So now I can’t do any sort of exercise so can you please tell me how to lose weight and if it is normal to start gaining weight on the lower part of my body. Also my mom is constantly at my back she keeps telling me to do the treadmill she just doesn’t understand that I can’t do it.

    • Hello Rumaisa,
      Thank you for your comment and questions. Your body shape sounds perfectly normal although you seem concerned. Body shape is also influenced by genetics, you gain more weight in the lower half of your body may be due to your genetic background (from your parents and grandparents). Exercise would help you to gain confidence in yourself, but in this area you also sound frustrated. Try again to speak with your mom (or write her a note if you feel your message is not getting thru ) or speak with someone else that will listen to you that you need help with an exercise program. And don’t worry, everyone’s thighs look larger when they are flat on the bed, rather than looking at them hanging down, sometimes we look at our body with harsher eyes than others around. Try to talk to those around you that will help you find a good exercise program that will give you confidence in you. Good luck! Let me know if you have further questions, warmly Mary

  29. Hi,
    I’m a 13 year old girl and I’m kind of worried about my weight. Over the past one or two years, I went from being very slim and about 85 pounds to slightly chubby and 113 pounds. (My height gain was 5 feet 0 inches to 5 feet 5 inches, or 152cm to 165cm) At around 105 pounds I stopped gaining weight for several months, but recently my weight gain has suddenly begun again and I don’t know why or when it’s going to stop.
    I am concerned because I think I’ve already have had my major height growth spurt, so how come I’m still gaining so much weight? I hear of people getting chubby during their teen years, but eventually getting a lot taller and slimming down. But if I’m already really near my adult height, will I ever naturally go back to being slim? Or is the only way to lose the extra body fat through dieting and exercise?

    • Dear Nicole, Thank you very much for your question. I think your concern is if you will still continue gaining weight since your growth spurt is on the slow down? You will still grow a bit in the next few years, but it will not be as fast as you experienced in the last 1-2 years. Your height and weight are good and are within an ‘ideal weight’: you are 5 foot 5 inches and 113 pounds, this is a good weight to be for your height. You may want to be slimmer, but you are at a very good weight, and by trying to be slimmer you risk not getting enough nutrition (food) for your growing body. ‘Naturally back to being slim’ (I think you mean 105 pounds for your height) —was a weight that I would consider too slim. Perhaps all the changes moving thru your teens, with the physical changes have been sudden for you and you need time to adjust? A good way to feel good about your body is to do some type of sport —even dance or something you like to do. This physical activity will keep your body moving, which is needs to do for good health and will help you feel good about yourself. It will also help you to expend energy, and this helps to moderate your eating so that you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. For your age, you shouldn’t be on a ‘diet’ but can make sure that you are doing some exercise everyday (even just walking or biking). I hope that I answered your question the way you expected. Let me know if you have any other questions, Warmly =Mary

  30. Hi,
    Im a 13 year old male 5’11.5. Recently I’ve been gaining lots of weight is this normal? In the past month I went from 175lbs to 185lbs. Should I be worried or is this perfectly normal? If so where is this weight coming from, muscle? Or is it just because I’m growing? I engage in most physical activities when I get the chance, such as American football or weight lifting. (bench pressing and deadlifting etc.) . I would also like to know if deadlifting and other weight lifting/ working out will affect my growth.

    • Hi John, You are quite tall! It sounds as if you are entering into a larger weight gain to support more growth in height. Your weight gain is most likely due to growth, although it sounds as if you are doing a lot of deadlifting and weight lifting. The weight lifting should not affect your growth unless you are not eating enough to support your exercise. Let me know if you have any other questions. Warmly, Mary

  31. Hi ma’am…I’m 16 years old ….my weight is 54 KGS and height is 154cms….I was 45 KGS last year….I have gained almost 10 KGS in a year…is it normal???

  32. Hi I’m a 16 year old girl… Height is 154 cm. Weight 54 kg
    Last year I was 45 KGS….I ve gained 9 KGS in a year…..but my height didn’t increase is it normal?

    • Dear Kriti, It is normal that around 16 years old you will see your height slow down and reach a plateau. That is what you are probably experiencing. For the weight gain, it is hard to say what is happening without a full dietetic and medical exam. If you are concerned, please speak to your parents or another adult about your weight. For your height 54 kgs is an okay weight , as long as you are eating well and exercising. Let me know if you have any questions.

  33. Hi Mary,
    I am currently 12 years old and I am 5″3 and currently 113-115 lbs is this a normal size. Do you have any estimate about how much I will weigh when I am 18? I have a bmi of 20.4

    • Hi Love and Peace! That is an excellent question. With height you can have a good estimate based on your parents heights, but with weight this is not applicable. You are in a good height and weight right now, and if you continue to grow as expected, eat healthy, do plenty of exercise, then you should have no problem with weight , neither under nor over. Hope this answered your question? If not, let me know. (Basically I cannot answer your question because there is no correct answer). Warmly, Mary

  34. Hi, I’m an 18 year old female and 4’11”. For almost all of high school I weight around 103 and was very concious about keeping it there if not lower. However at the beginning of my senior year I began to rapidly gain weight, at first I attributed it to slacking off on diet and exercise. About a month after the initial weight gain I resumed my active lifestyle/healthy eating, however the weight is still coming up. I’ve been tested for an hypothyroidism and tests were negative. I’m currently at 120 which is overweight for my height however the doctors and my mom say nothing is wrong. I have tried lowering calories and exercising more, everything and nothing is working. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Cagen, Thanks for your question. So sorry you are concerned about your weight gain, this must be troubling for you. Without a complete review of your medical history and nutritional intake it is difficult for me to make an assessment on why you have gained this weight. You seem to be doing everything correctly, and this must be frustrating for you especially as your doctor and mum say that nothing is wrong. Your weight should stabilize and if it doesn’t then I would suggest additional tests or a further health physical. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. Stay in touch and let me know how you are doing. Warmly, Mary

  35. I’m a fifteen year old girl and my mom does everything listed

    talking about my eating habits
    encouraging me to eat less
    making comments
    And constantly weighing me

    I used to weight 160.9 (I’m 5’6)
    Now I weight 191.6 (I just weighed myself and so at the point I know I’m now overweight. However, I’ve been on diets since 4th grade and I participate in gym class everyday, I used to do softball but it was affecting my grades.

    I’m not exactly sure what to do anymore, any advice?

    • Dear Hayley, Thanks for reaching out! Sounds like you are in a lot of pressure mode from your mom, it must not be easy for you –sometimes parents seem like we are on ‘the backs’ of our kids because we love and care about them and don’t always know what is the right thing to do in every situation. I don’t know which country you live in, but I recommend a visit to a registered dietitian -a visit that you and your mom go to together. A dietitian can help put you on the path of healthy eating without being on a diet, while helping your mom to be a source of support rather than what the situation is at the moment. If you have any issues with your self-esteem based on your weight, perhaps you could ask advice from a psychologist at school or a teacher that is supportive? I could advise you now to talk to your mom about getting some feedback about your weight from a health professional (starting from a doctor who can refer to a dietitian) rather than having your mom be in control of your weight, constantly weighing you isn’t a helpful process for you to achieve an ‘ideal’ weight. I hope this is helpful, let me know how things are going, and let me know if you have any questions. Warmly, Mary

      • I could be wrong but aren’t I still growing?
        I weighed myself yesterday afternoon, after I had eaten a taco, a plate or baked beans and crackers and two slices of pizza, I weighed 188.4 lbs

        Today was the first time in 3 weeks my mother cooked. I ate a lot of Kale and had an extra piece of corn. (I had slept a lot today because I didnt feel well) I will admit I also had extra corn bread but aside from that my grandma angrily made a comment that I was too fat and should stop eating for a few days. My mom said “vegetables are 0 points, she’s fine” and then my grandma said “you won’t be happy until you have to butter the door to get her through”

        I’m curvy but am I supposed to be super small for my height and age? I don’t even eat sugary foods, I’ve cut out soda and I don’t eat pork, eggs, sea food nor a lot of bread and pasta. I do eat a lot of vegetables and fruit and drink water, am I doing okay?

        My ideal weight is 120 lbs. just so I can make them all shut up and I can be happy.

        • Hayley, Yes you are still growing, but it is at a slower pace than you were growing at between 13-15 years old. You are doing great-vegetables, water and cutting out the soda. I am sorry that you hear these comments at home about your weight, it doesn’t help your situation. Your ideal weight might not be a weight you will ever be at, but keep eating healthy (and eating every day) these balanced foods like vegetables along with some protein rich foods (for iron that you need) and calcium rich foods (dairy products). You do need to eat every day-crash diets is not the solution. Walking and biking are good exercise and good to do everyday. Stay positive and remember that you are beautiful no matter what weight you are!

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