It can be difficult to determine what is healthy when it comes to the average height/weight for teenagers because there are so many different factors involved. Calculations for the height/weight ratio for teenagers can be based on everything from the sex of a particular teenager to individual body types and lifestyles. However, because every teenager grows at a rate that is completely unique to them, calculating a teenager’s height/weight ratio is even more complex. Add into that the fact that puberty plays a huge role by wreaking hormonal havoc on teenagers and their bodies, and the problem grows even more complicated.
The primary tool used to determine the average height/weight for teenagers is the Body Mass Index, or BMI, the formula for which is weight divided by height squared. It is a way to measure an individual’s height and weight against the statistics of that age group. For example, if a seventeen year old boy is 5’10” (or 70 inches) tall and weighs 174 pounds, his BMI is 25, which indicates a healthy weight for his height. A BMI that falls below 18.5 suggests being underweight for their height, a healthy BMI falls anywhere between 18.5 and 25.
However insightful a tool the Body Mass Index may be, it is extremely important to realize that it is not the final word when it comes to describe average height and weight for teenagers. Doing so fails to take into consideration that growth rates can affect the height/weight ratio immensely, creating grey areas that cannot be accounted for by the numbers produced by BMI. Say that a sixteen year old boy is 5’9″ (or 69 inches) tall and weighs the same as the aforementioned seventeen year old. The sixteen year old’s BMI is 25.7, which shows he is in danger of becoming overweight and strongly suggests that he is fat compared to a boy one year older and one inch taller. However, the sixteen year old could actually be very fit and solid, and since muscle weighs more than fat, the facts implied by the Body Mass Index are clearly incorrect.
When it comes to determining average height/weight for teenagers, it is better to refer to a doctor, especially a child’s pediatrician, who will be familiar with the individual teenager’s medical history, include his or her’s average growth rate. Recently the BMI index has been closely scrutinized because some doctors do consider it the end-all be-all of judging healthy height/weight ratios; others who look down upon it recognize that it is simply a guide, just like the current data and charts on the subject. Ideally, boys between 12 and 15 should weigh between 85-125 pounds and fall somewhere between 58-66 inches tall. Boys from 16 to 20 should weigh anywhere between 130 pounds and 160 pounds and be 67-70 inches tall. From ages 12 to 15, girls should be between 60-64 inches tall and weigh 95-115 pounds; girls between 16-20 should be 64 inches tall or more and weigh somewhere between 116 pounds and 130 pounds.
This information is important to consider, but other factors are even more important, because they can contradict accepted statistics while still being normal for an individual teenager. The teenage years are a volatile time and a teenager’s body is changing constantly, altered by normal growth spurts and the hormones of puberty. While the tools and data described above are certainly strong indicators of the average height/weight for teenagers, every child is different and that always needs to be taken into account when comparing their height and weight to others in their age-group. Sometimes a teenager’s height has to catch up with their weight and vice versa.↑ Back to Top