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AnswerThere is no perfect or ideal weight for a child because weight is related to height and body composition, rather than just age alone. The weight of a child or teenager (relative to their peers) can vary during growth and the growth charts can only give a general idea of a child or teenager's weight and height at a given age in relation to their peers. Use the growth charts, further down this page, listed under Related Links, to see the distribution of weights and heights of children and teenagers at various stages.

So, is your child or teenager overweight? It is possible to get an estimate of whether or not a child's growth is appropriate by consulting the charts. If there is a large discrepancy between height and weight percentiles, it suggests that a child's weight is disproportional to his height. If so, it is possible that a child will be overweight. (Consult a doctor, for a professional evaluation, if you think your child is overweight before starting any sort of calorie restriction.)

An example: 12-year-old Billy is 58 inches in height and 130 pounds in weight. Is there reason to be concerned?

Consulting the growth charts, we see that 58 inches for a 12-year-old is just about at the 50th percentile. In addition, at 130 pounds and 12 years old, Billy is at the 95th percentile for weight. Therefore, while Billy is taller than only 50% of children his age (he's of average height), he is heavier than 95% of them! That is a large discrepancy and, therefore, probably something to discuss with a medical practitioner.

Another example: 8-year-old Michael Jordan Jr. is 55 inches in height and 72 pounds in weight. Is there reason to be concerned?

Look at the growth charts. 55 inches is extremely tall for an 8-year-old, above the 95th percentile. For weight, 72 pounds is right around the 95th percentile. So, while lil' Mikey is taller than most children in his age group he is also heavier than most children in his age group - he is proportional, suggesting that things are normal.

The page links further down this page, listed under Related Questions and Related Links, provide growth charts and information about the causes of unwanted weight gain and the best diet and lifestyle to reduce or prevent obesity in children or teenagers.

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Q: What is a normal weight for a child or teenager of a certain height and age?
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