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Obesity and Weight Management

Am I Overweight?

10/29/2010

Question:

I am 13 and I weigh 159 lbs. I am 5` 1\2". Help me.

Answer:

Although you do not say whether you are a boy or girl, from the information you gave me, you are considered to be overweight. I recommend that you speak to your parents about your concern and ask for them to take you to your doctor. The doctor can advise you on the best action to take. If you are very athletic, the weight may be muscle instead of fat and this is OK. However, if your extra weight is from fat, you may be told to try to maintain your current weight (stop the weight gain) and just "grow into it" - meaning that as you grow taller, you will slim down. You may also be referred to a registered dietitian (RD) for help. The RD will help you plan a healthy diet as well as encourage a more active lifestyle (the more you move, the more calories you will burn which will result in some weight loss).

On average, a 13-year-old boy needs about 2500 calories per day and a 13-year-old girl needs about 2200 calories per day to fuel normal daily activities and keep their body healthy. This will vary with how active you are. You can visit the ChooseMyPlate.gov website and find out what a healthy diet should be for you. It will show you how much food from each food group you should be eating every day.

You can also look at what you are eating and drinking now. If you find that you fill up on sweet drinks (pop, juice drinks, etc), snack foods (chips, candy, cookies), or fast foods, these would be the foods to cut down or out first. They give you a lot of calories and very little nutrition. Use these only as occasional foods. Instead, try to choose more fruits, vegetables, non-fat milk, lean meats, and whole grain foods. These foods are full of nutrients and fill you up, so you are less likely to overeat.

Listen to your body signals, too. If you are hungry, it is time to eat. If you are full, it is time to stop eating. Ask yourself, are you eating because you are hungry or for some other reason (such as because it is there, others are eating, you are bored, etc)? Any reason, other than hunger, is not a good reason to eat. Also, sometimes when we feel hungry, we are really thirsty instead. Try drinking a glass of water and see if the feeling changes.

I hope these suggestions helps to give you a good start. Please remember: talk to your parents and ask for their help. Together, you can make a difference!

For more information:

Go to the Obesity and Weight Management health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University