We all remember the sweet age of 13 when suddenly everything started changing. From height, weight, voice, skin, and mood swings, puberty definitely was a joyful time.
As a teenager’s parent, you may find your child insecure and constantly checking their weight. So, how much should a 13-year-old weigh?
All these questions are perfectly normal for your child to ask. This article will discuss the average weight of a 13-year-old and tell you how to communicate with your teenage child during puberty.
How Much Should a 13-Year-Old Weigh?
Generally, a 13-year-old boy should weight 75–140 pounds, with an average of 100 pounds. For girls, the average 13-year-old weight range is 76–145 pounds, with an average of 101 pounds.
Although most girls start puberty at 11 and boys at 12 years of age, puberty’s timing differs individually, and accordingly, their weight may vary. During puberty, a child can gain an average of 6.5 pounds yearly.
That said, weight only isn’t necessarily an indicator of your child’s health. Height plays an important role in determining your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI). In addition, the amount of muscle, fat, and bone density contributes to a child’s weight.
For Instance, two kids having the same weight can look different. You may have heard that muscles and fat weigh differently, but that isn’t true.
A pound is a pound, whether it’s muscles or fat. Muscles, however, are denser and take less space than fat, so even if your child weighs more than the average, that doesn’t mean he’s unhealthy.
If you’re concerned about your child’s sudden weight gain or loss, it’s best to talk to their pediatrician. The pediatrician has likely measured your child’s weight over time and will tell you if there are any abnormalities.
What Are the Factors That Affect Weight During Puberty?
Several factors influence the age of puberty and the weight of young teens, like genetics, nutrition, endocrine disruptors, physical activity, growth rate, and geographic location.
The timing of puberty, height growth, and weight gain are strictly genetically regulated. Puberty genes are linked to body fat.
Boys who have higher BMI are likely to hit puberty faster. Same thing for obese girls. Usually, girls who reach 100 pounds (45 kilos) trigger the onset of puberty. This means the more your child weighs, the earlier he/she will hit puberty.
Now you may think that nutrition and physical activity levels impact your child’s weight, thus, puberty, which is true. However, studies suggest that genetics can influence as high as 60% of a child’s weight.
Your child—especially girls—is likely to show early puberty if it runs in the family. Yet, it’s better to see your general practitioner when your child hits puberty before age 8 for girls and 9 for boys.
Nutrition is an essential factor influencing weight and puberty development. Consuming a balanced diet throughout all growth phases (infancy, childhood, and adolescence) is essential for proper growth.
Now, girls hit puberty earlier compared to past decades. Excessive consumption of processed food, high-fat diets, and artificial sweeteners are major causes of obesity, leading to early puberty.
Even strictly meat-based diets—which are often regarded as the magic bullet of weight loss—can cause premature puberty. High protein intake increases the Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) hormone, which is found at high levels in girls with earlier puberty onset.
That’s not to say that children should eat less. In contrast, if your child is malnourished, it’ll delay the onset of puberty. A growth spurt increases nutritional demands like caloric intake, iron, calcium, zinc, and folic acid.
A lack of nutrients will risk the progression of puberty and eventually stunt growth. Moderation is key. A balanced diet of protein, fat, carbs, and limited processed food ensures your child’s proper growth.
The reason it’s hard to pinpoint a single ideal weight for 13-year-old kids is the variety in the rate of development. Kids enter puberty at different ages, and their growth rate differs.
Kids with early puberty grow faster, are taller, and weigh more than their peers. However, their bones mature earlier, stopping them from growing taller.
If your child shows signs of early puberty, early diagnosis and treatment can help him/her reach a taller adult height.
It goes without saying that physical activity level affects weight. Children that exercise for 60min daily are at lower risk of becoming overweight. Even children at risk of obesity have a 49% reduced chance of becoming overweight if they work out for 60min a day.
However, excessive intensive physical training without adequate energy compensation leads to adverse health effects. Energy drainage alters the glands responsible for growth, leading to delayed puberty in kids.
The average height and weight of a child differ according to country, ethnicity, cultural practices, and socioeconomic level.
Countries with a high percentage of malnourished children have lower average weight compared to countries having a high rate of obesity.
Endocrine disruptors and environmental pollutants can alter the normal functioning of the endocrine glands (glands that secrete regulatory hormones in the blood).
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found in plastics, such as Bisphenol A (BSA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, containers, detergents, processed food, and even animal product food contaminated with EDCs.
The buildup of EDCs in a child’s body affects hormonal balance during puberty, increasing the risk of obesity and delayed development.
Can Puberty Cause Eating Disorders?
Yes, puberty is one of the crucial factors in developing eating disorders. Your child’s body changes during puberty can take a toll on them. Such body changes cause increased negative psychological effects like body dissatisfaction and lack of self-esteem.
Common Eating Disorders During Puberty
Children going through puberty can fall victim to bad eating habits, leading to different eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia, and binge eating disorders.
The problem with eating disorders in teens is early diagnosis. Many teenagers with eating disorders are undiagnosed because they appear normal, try to hide their behavior, or their family is unaware of their eating disorder symptoms.
Typical anorexic behavior includes extreme dieting, obsessively counting calories, constantly feeling fat, and fear of gaining weight.
Signs of Anorexia include:
- Social withdrawal and depression.
- Severe weight loss.
- Thinning hair.
- Feeling cold and fatigued.
- Absence of menstrual cycles in females.
Teenagers with bulimia will start binge eating, followed by a constant feeling of shame and guilt. They compensate each time they eat through extreme measurements, like using laxatives, induced vomiting, excessive exercising, and fasting.
Signs of Bulimia Nervosa include:
- Teeth discoloration
- Bad breath
- Stomach aches
- Sore throat
- Scarring of hands because of self-induced vomiting
- Irregular menstruation and fatigue.
Binge Eating Disorder
Teenagers with binge eating disorders tend to overeat and feel guilty afterward. Sounds familiar? Like bulimia, binge eaters also feel shame after eating, but they don’t compensate for the overeating behavior.
Binge eaters feel like they can’t control their overeating habits and try to hide when eating.
Signs of Binge Eating Disorders include:
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Irregular mensural cycle
What Can You Do?
While puberty is mainly controlled by genetics, parents can help their child overcome the negative psychological conditions associated with puberty, along with eating disorders.
Prepare Your Child For Puberty
Educating your child about puberty will help them understand what their body is going through and what to expect.
Encourage your child to talk to you through positive communication. Don’t use judgmental phrases or words that’ll likely make them shy away from any conversation with you. Even worse, they may hide their eating disorder habits or mental illnesses when approached by you.
Reinforce Positive Self-Esteem
Monitor your child’s influences. What they follow on the internet has a tremendous impact on their self-esteem. Tell your child they are worthy regardless of their waist size or skin imperfections.
Dismantle negative connotations surrounding words like “fat” or “skinny” by educating your child on different body shapes and sizes.
What’s more, discuss with your teen what the media display as “ideal beauty standards” and tell your child there isn’t such a thing as an ideal or perfect body type. What’s displayed by the media is edited, and our imperfections are also beautiful.
Develop Healthy Habits
Guide your child to develop healthy eating habits by letting them experiment with food and note how it impacts their body. If some food doesn’t feel right or causes bloating, they’ll learn to exclude it and listen to their body.
Don’t let them fall into the restrictive diet trap. (Unless the pediatrician recommended it.)
Teach them that exercise isn’t a punishment and that they shouldn’t workout out of guilt. Instead, people should enjoy their food and celebrate movement every day.
So, how much should a 13-year-old weigh?
Several factors determine that. While there is an average weight for boys and girls at age 13, your child’s weight may differ.
Factors like genetics, physical activity, nutrition, rate of development, and more will influence your child’s weight.
What’s important you do as a parent is to educate your kids about puberty and encourage them to love their body, no matter how it changes.