It's not uncommon for a 16-year-old to come back to school after summer break a few inches taller and several pounds heavier. Some teens experience no growth over those two months, while others can't seem to slow down. That's because adolescents grow in spurts as their bodies respond to growth and sex hormones.
Both boys and girls experience these spurts. But quite often, girls cruise through their growth spurts before boys. Although they are only two-years away from being an adult, 16-year-olds have a wide range of average heights and weights. However, statements about averages at any age during adolescence are full of variables.
Average Height and Weight for Girls
Girls' growth hormones kick into high gear around 9 years of age. Growth and sex hormone-initiated growth spurts peak at an average age of 11.5 and last for two to three years. By 16 years of age, many girls have attained their average adult heights.
Girls in the fiftieth percentile at age 9 weigh about 64 pounds and stand 52 inches tall; at age 12, they weigh about 85 pounds and stand 5 feet tall. Sixteen-year-olds in the fiftieth percentile stand 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weigh 115 pounds as their growth curves level off.
Average Height and Weight for Boys
Boys begin growth spurts around 11 years of age and are growing fastest at around 13.5 years old. Because boys start growing later than girls, their growth plates, the soft colloidal tissue between bones, hardens into cartilage later, making adult men end up taller than adult women on average.
The majority of 16-year-olds are past the peak of their growth spurt but many are still growing. Boys in the fiftieth percentile at age 11 weigh about 73 pounds and stand 61 inches tall; at age 14, they weigh about 110 pounds and stand 5 feet, 5 inches tall. Sixteen-year-olds in the fiftieth percentile stand 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weigh 132 pounds as their growth curves level off.
Ranges Using Body Mass Index
Body mass index (BMI) is another tool often used when assessing the growth of teenagers. BMI is a measurement of weight with respect to height. There is a standard BMI chart that assigns a number (BMI) based on height and weight and then categorizes it from underweight to obese.
- Underweight: >18.5
- Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: 25.0 to 29.9
- Obese: 30 and above
The average weights for 16-year-old girls range from 95 pounds at the third percentile to 185 pounds at the ninety-seventh percentile. Average heights range from 5 feet to 5 feet, 9 inches. The BMI numbers for a 16-year-old range from 17.75 to 28.75; the BMI at the fiftieth percentile is 20.5, which is considered normal weight based on BMI.
The average weights for 16-year-old boys range from 103 pounds to 195 pounds and heights range from 5 feet, 3 inches to 6 feet, 2 inches. The BMI numbers for a 16-year old boy range from 17 to 27.25. Boys average a 20.5 BMI at the fiftieth percentile, which is considered normal weight based on BMI.
- Centers for Disease Control: 2 to 20 years Girls Stature for Age, Weight for Age
- Centers for Disease Control: 2 to 20 years Boys Stature for Age, Weight for Age
- Centers for Disease Control: 2 to 20 years: Girls Body Mass Index-for-Age Percentiles
- Centers for Disease Control: 2 to 20 years: Boys Body Mass Index-for-Age Percentiles http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/
- Kids Health: What's the Right Weight for my Height?
- Centers for Disease Control: About BMI for Children and Teens