Some days it may seem like your teen is a bottomless pit, eating all day long, but his stomach does have limits. Food only stays in the stomach for about an hour or two before passing into the small intestine, so this can contribute to the hourly feedings your teen is demonstrating. Since teenagers grow in spurts, the size of his stomach ultimately depends on his age and stage of development.
The stomach is a muscular, elastic, elongated organ that lies below the diaphragm, on the left side of the abdominal cavity. Ask your teen to ball up his fist. An empty stomach is usually the width of the person's balled fist and two fists long. Depending on his age and size, his stomach can be around 4 or 5 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches long.
Regular Stomach Capacity
As your teenager grows, the size of his stomach inches toward the size of the average adult stomach, which can comfortably hold 1 to 2 liters of food and liquid after a meal. Try to encourage your teen to eat within these limits – although taming that teenage hunger may be easier said than done.
Max Stomach Capacity
According to the Inner Body website, a stomach can hold up to 3 to 4 liters of food and liquid. This amount of food is usually consumed during a large meal, like Thanksgiving dinner, or other overeating. Filling the stomach to max capacity can make digestion difficult and can lead to discomfort, like a stomachache, indigestion or bloating.
Your teen's gender, body size, activity level and growth rate help determine how many calories should be consumed per day. According to Eat Right, an 11- to 13-year-old boy should eat 1,800 to 2,600 calories a day and 2,200 to 3,200 calories between 14 and 18 years. For an 11- to 13-year-old girl, she should eat 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day and 1,800 to 2,400 daily calories from 14 to 18 years. To help your teen reach or maintain a healthy weight, teach him portion control and encourage healthy eating. Since you're the one in charge of the grocery shopping, you can help by stocking up on healthy food and snack options.
- Inner Body: Stomach, Gallbladder, and Pancreas
- Inner Body: Stomach
- The Physics Factbook: Volume of a Human Stomach
- Eat Right: How Many Calories Does My Teen Need?
- Health Tap: How Many Calories Should an Averaged Sized Teenager be Taking In
- Teens Health: How Much Food Should I Eat?
- John Hopkins Medicine: The Growing Child: Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)
- Dimensions Info: Stomach Volume