Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

A healthy weight for a 13 year old

08/07/2006 01:48PM


I am a 13 year old that is 5`2 is it unhealthy to be underweight since i weigh 86lbs? and whats the best way to gain weight without going overboard?


Both are very good questions! One way to determine how healthy we are is looking at how much we weigh, but it is not the only indicator. It would help to know more about you to make a thorough assessment (for example, are you are a boy or girl?). In addition to the scale, health professionals’ judge healthy weight and height using a growth chart which compares your growth over time (from birth). If you have consistently followed the same growth curve from birth, you are in a healthy range for your body type.

Another tool we use is the body mass index (BMI). When I checked yours using the on-line tool at, it said that your BMI indicates you are at a healthy weight (whether you are a girl or a boy). So that’s good news. However, if you still feel that you are underweight (and your pediatrician and parents also think so), then it would be a good idea to see a dietitian for some individual help. Your diet and exercise patterns would need to be evaluated. It is also important to consider if you are in a growth spurt (sometimes we grow taller and thin first, then the weight catches up as the height slows in growth). You will need to eat a well balanced diet and take in enough calories to support your continuing growth. Weight gain should be gradual, over time. Small increases in healthy foods will help you put on weight. Do not go for the “quick fix.” Remember to try not to fill up on “junk foods” (chips, fried foods, pop, candy); let your calories come from nutritious sources (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, nuts) instead. If you visit the website, you can tailor a diet to meet your needs according to your age, gender, and activity level. Go to “my pyramid plan” at

I hope this helps a bit. Good luck!

For more information:

Go to the Diet and Nutrition health topic.