It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

How much should a teenaged girl weigh?

My question is really how much should I weigh? I'm a girl. Almost 13. I'm 5'3" - almost 5'4", and my weight is different every day! It's from 114-118! It changes so much! Can you tell me why, as well?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

an adolescent lying on a bed using a laptop computer

This is a great question. There's a lot of ways to look at weight, but one of the most reliable guidelines that we use is the Body Mass Index or BMI. While the BMI works pretty well for adults, in children and teenagers it is something we use a bit more cautiously. This is because as you grow so much changes. There's a difference in the amount of body fat as we grow, and boys and girls don't grow in quite the same way.

So we use a set of tables to tell us whether your weight is in a healthy range. These are provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and all pediatricians use them.

Your weight is fine. It is in the normal range. Keep in mind that everyone's weight will change a bit from day to day depending on their size, what they might have eaten, how hydrated they are, etc.. Your weight fluctuation is normal.

If you want to read more and keep track, visit the CDC web page on BMI for Children and Teens.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet