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# The Normal Weight Range of a 15-Year-Old

by
Pha Lo
Pha Lo has received fellowships from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the California Women's Foundation. Her work has been published in the "San Francisco Chronicle," "Sacramento Bee," "Pacific News Service" and "Audrey Magazine." She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Lo is a nutrition educator and a certified food safety manager.

While healthy weights for adults are set by body mass index -- BMI -- charts, healthy weight ranges are difficult to determine for children and teens. It is hard to state a "normal" weight for a 15-year-old, and more important to advise a healthy BMI-for-age range. According to the Centers for Disease Control, healthy weight for children and teens change with each month of age, for each sex, and increases as height increases.

## Significance

It is imperative for children and adolescents to stay within a normal BMI-for-age range. BMI for children and teens, which takes into account the relation of one's weight to age, sex and height, is used to screen for obesity. According to research from "Nutrition Journal," 25 percent of children in the United States are overweight and 11 percent are obese. Obesity is a condition that increases the risks for type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. Being significantly underweight can also be a major health concern.

## Calculations

The CDC offers a calculator that allows teens to specify criteria such as birth date, sex and height to determine BMI and then to compare it with BMI-for-age charts. Use these results to determine if you fall within an underweight, normal, overweight or obese range. This criteria for calculating BMI is more specific than BMI charts for adults, which do not account for differences in sex and age.

## Recommendations

The "normal" weight for a 15-year old varies due to a number of factors and the best way to obtain a healthy weight range for your exact age, height and sex is to use the CDC's calculator. According to CDC calculations, a boy who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and is exactly 15 years and one month old could have a healthy weight that falls anywhere between 105 to 145 pounds. For a girl of the same age and height, this weight range is 102 to 149 pounds.

## Considerations

It is important to take a holistic view of health when determining normal weight for a teen. The CDC recommends that parents do not use regular BMI charts to determine if their children and teens are within a healthy weight range. Additionally, a BMI for a 10-year-old boy considered overweight may be within the normal range for a 15-year-old boy. BMI is not a diagnostic tool and assessing for excess fat would require further examination.

## Time Frame

While general recommendations for adults state that 1 pound per week is a healthy rate at which to lose or gain weight, teenagers may want to work with a physician to develop an individualized plan that will be safe for them. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a weight loss rate of no more than 1 pound per month in obese children ages 2 to 11 and 2 pounds per week for older obese children and adolescents.

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