Today's youth, especially girls, are constantly pressured to have the perfect body. With these ideals in place, many young girls are dissatisfied with their physical appearance and body weight. This dissatisfaction can lead to a host of health problems including disordered eating. As a result, it is important that girls understand their ideal weight largely depends on their body type and height.
BMI stands for body mass index. BMI is a comparison of height and weight, but it is not used to measure body fat directly. It is an inexpensive and easy means of screening for weight problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a BMI screening starting at the age of 2.
Girl's Height and Weight
For a girl between the ages of 12 of 13, height generally ranges from 60 to 63 inches and weight ranges from 95 to 105 lbs. A 14- to 15-year-old girl is typically 63 to 64 inches tall and weighs around 105 to 115 lbs. A 16- to 18-year-old girl is about 64 inches tall and weighs between 115 to 130 lbs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these measurements are in the 50th percentile on the BMI scale. A healthy weight is in the 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile. Overweight girls fall in the 85th to less than 95th percentiles. Those in the 95th percentile or greater are considered to be obese. Those under the 5th percentile are underweight.
Girls need to understand that all body types are different. The MayoClinic.com suggests explaining that weight gain is a normal part of growing up and developing. Explain to your child that genetics also influence weight. Often times, girls are affected by what they see in the media. Find out what your child is watching and encourage her to ask questions. The trick to creating positive body image is not focusing on being thin or fat. You should concentrate on your child eating right and engaging in exercise. Avoid using language around an impressionable girl that includes hurtful names or jokes regarding those who are overweight.
It is important to remember that BMI can not be used to diagnose obesity or problems related to being underweight. Even a girl with a high BMI may not necessarily have a weight problem. In order to determine if a girl does have a weight problem, further examination is necessary. A physician is likely to evaluate her diet, exercise levels and family history. A skinfold thickness test can also help to measure the excessive fat on her body. Skin fold calipers are used during this test to pinch the skin and measure the amount of body fat.