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A healthy weight for girls

A nurse weighing a girl on a scale.

You may have heard a lot about overweight and obesity lately. That's because in the United States, 1 out of 3 young people weigh more than they should. And being overweight or obese comes with some serious health risks. Keep reading to learn about:

Overweight and obesity arrow top

A person who is "overweight" weighs more than is considered healthy. A person who is "obese" has even more extra weight.

A campaign for healthy kids

Many people want to help keep kids healthy. First Lady Michelle Obama is one of them. She started Let's Move! , which offers tips for healthy eating and exercise, ways to get involved, videos, and more. Check it out, and join the movement!

Being overweight or obese comes with the possibility of some serious health problems, including a risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Problems with menstruation (periods)
  • Strain on your joints
  • Sleep problems

Keep reading to learn how to figure out what is a healthy weight for you. And if you think you may need to lose weight, talk to an adult you trust. Your doctor or school nurse can help. You deserve to be healthy and feel great!

What are calories? arrow top

Calories are a form of energy. When we talk about calories in food, we mean the energy that the food supplies to a person's body. When we talk about calories and physical activity, we mean the energy that your body uses ("burns") to do the activity.

To stay at a healthy weight, you want to take in around the same amount of calories as you use for activity. Are you active a moderate, or medium, amount? (That means something between sitting around a lot and walking more than 3 miles per day.) If so, you probably can eat around 2,000 calories each day.

What is a healthy weight? arrow top

As you enter your teen years, so much is changing in your body (and your mind), that it may be hard for you to know what a healthy weight for a teenage girl is..

Sometimes, girls think they need to be thinner, even if they are not overweight. You may see models in magazines or on TV who are really skinny, and you may think that you need to lose weight so you can look like them. But many of these models are underweight to a point that is unhealthy.

So how do you find out if you are a healthy weight? One tool that can help tell if you are at a healthy weight for your age and height is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Talk with your doctor about BMI and your weight. Together, you can decide whether you need to lose weight, gain weight, or stop worrying about your weight.

Read girlshealth.gov's helpful info on what to do if you need to gain weight or lose weight.

 

Content last reviewed November 05, 2013
Page last updated January 14, 2014

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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