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Obesity and Weight Management

I think I`m overweight.

07/25/2007

Question:

I am 13. I am 5 foot 4.5 inches and I weigh 195 pounds. Is this normal for a girl my age? Or am I overweight? I feel fat but I`m told I`m fine. I think my thighs are also fat. Am I really fine?

is it okay if i take Alli even through im 13?

Answer:

The best way to assess whether you are overweight is by looking at both your height and weight. The body mass index (BMI) calculation accounts for both height and weight. Using the BMI formula, I calculated your BMI at 33.5 (look at http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ for a free online BMI calculator).

An ideal BMI is between 18.5-24.9. Therefore, your BMI of 33.5 is overweight when adjusted for your height. A weight of 145 pounds would bring your BMI to 24.9 thus this is a recommended weight for your height.

At the age of 13 years, when your body is going through puberty and a lot of changes, it is common to question what is normal for your body. It is important to discuss your feelings with your parents and to ask your doctor about any medical questions that you have, too, even though you might feel embarrassed. They will be able to help you to understand all of the new shapes and changes that your body is going through.

With regards to taking Alli, I would certainly suggest that you ask your doctor whether taking Alli is appropriate for you. Alli works by blocking the absorption of fats but does not result in weight loss without dieting or exercising. The BEST way to become fit and lean is to eat a healthy balanced diet (plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken) and to exercise daily at a moderate level (30 minutes per day of constant cardio). Your doctor will be able to give you recommendations as to the best total calorie intake and exercises for you based on your medical history.

In summary, speak to your doctor and your parents about your concerns with your body. They will certainly be able to help you understand the changes that your body is going through. Your doctor will also be able to help give you advice on how to be fit and healthy through recommendations as to healthy eating and daily exercise.

For more information:

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Response by:

Jennifer Shine Dyer, MD, MPH Jennifer Shine Dyer, MD, MPH
Former Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University