What is a good bmi for a 16 year old?

Ah, adolescence—the awkward pre-adult stage of life filled with all the angst and acne that comes along with it. But this time in one’s life is also crucial when it comes to health and wellness. Developing healthy habits now can set you on a path towards lifelong wellbeing, and one aspect of that is keeping an eye on your Body Mass Index (BMI). So, what’s a good BMI for someone still polishing off their learner plates? Buckle up kiddos—we’re about to find out!

What exactly IS BMI anyway?

If you don’t know what BMI stands for by now—where have you been living? Underneath a boulder? (Don’t worry—I won’t judge.) It stands for Body Mass Index, which doesn’t mean how many buffets you’ve been hitting lately (although we wish it did!). Rather, it calculates your overall body fat based on two things: height and weight. Find out more below:

How does one calculate their own BMI?

I’d rather not bore everyone with equations here since fractions make my head spin (sad but true) so let me save us some pain with snippets from cardio.org

1) First convert weight from kilograms to stones or pounds:
One kilogram equals approximately 2.2lb
So dividing your weight in kg by 2.2 gives you your weight in pounds.

Example Calculation: 
70kg = (70 ÷ 2.20462) = 154lbs

Once you have worked out his or her pounds figure then follow this step-by-step approach.

Step A Multiply height in inches × height in inches
Step B Divide the obtained answer at Step A above by patient’s Weight in lb
Step C Divide the obtained answer at Step B above again by factor “703”

Example Calculation:
Weight 150lb, height is 5 feet and 10 inches.

Step A
70 x 70 = 4,900

Step B
4,900 ÷ 150lb = 32.67

Step C 
32.67 ÷ 703 = BMI of approximately 25.

Don’t worry if you fell asleep reading that! (I almost did!) You can also just use an online BMI calculator instead.

How does one interpret their own BMI?

So you’ve calculated your BMI—now what? What do those numbers even mean? Are they good or bad news bears? Here’s a handy reference to give you an idea:

BMI Classification
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5–24.9 Normal weight
25–29.9 Overweight
30+ Obese

Note: This chart only applies to adults age 20+. For children and adolescents under the age of twenty, the interpretation varies depending on factors including age and gender.

SO…What Is The Perfect Body Mass Index for Age Sixteen Anyway?

Okay okay okay—we won’t keep torturing you with suspense any longer! So here’s some facts according to docs at healthychildren.org based on research via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about teens aged between 12 –19 years old from different countries in the last few decades;

In order to determine whether a certain number falls into a normal range we’ll take another table down memory lane:

Males (12 –19) BMI as per CDC Healthy Weight Category
[WHO data] [2]
– Underweight: Less than <17
– Normal weight: 17 -23 – Healthy Weight
– Overweight: 23 –27 – Overweight
– Obese: more than >27 – Obesity
Females (12-19) BMI as per CDC Healthy Weight Category
[WHO data] [2]
L Underweight: Less than <16
L Normal weight :16 -22
L Overweight: 22 –26
L Obese: maximum Limit >26

Don’t worry if you haven’t got your head around it—hopefully, some hip and trendy doctors will come up with a cooler way to work out how teens can determine BMI in the future. The basic points we are still holding on to here is that a BMI between 17-23 for teen boys and 16-22 for females girls has for long been recognized by stakeholders as being generally normal or healthy![2][3]

Why Is BMI Important In Adolescence?

Hold up! Before you brush this whole BMI thing off as just another trivial adult concern (like composting or turning down the thermostat) think again! Keeping tabs on one’s body mass index is especially important during these formative years. Check below!

It Can Affect Mental Health

It might not sound very logical, but research suggests there’s often an inverse relationship between health status and mental health of teenagers. Prime example? This study found that adolescents who were obese had higher rates of depression.

It Sets Your Future For Heart Disease And Chronic Illness

You’d be forgiven for assuming only adults were at risk from heart disease—the number-one killer in many parts of the world—that would make us all feel pretty secure about our own bodies right? But actually studies also reveal that overweight children are no less exposed to heart disease than their unhealthy ‘rents.[1]

So What Other Factors Are There To Consider Aside From Gender When Determining A Healthy BMI?

Gender definitely plays a role in determining what’s a “healthy” BMI, but there are several other factors to consider too! Here are few:


As mentioned above, age is another key factor when it comes to measuring BMI. Teens develop and grow at different rates, so what may be considered healthy for one 16-year-old might not necessarily apply to another.

Muscle Mass

When looking at BMI numbers alone, they don’t differentiate between muscle mass and fat mass. This means that someone who has a high percentage of muscle (like an athlete) could register as overweight or even obese if their weight isn’t proportionate to their height.

Body Shape

Research has also shown that body shape affects the relationship between weight/BMI with health outcomes. Those who carry extra pounds around their waistline may be more susceptible to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease than those who store excess fat elsewhere on their body.

I’m Confused—So What Should I Do Now?

You’ve made it through all that science-y stuff (congrats), but you’re still left wondering: “What should MY ideal BMI be?” It can be tough deciphering your own stats when there’s so much information out there. So here are some tips:

Consult With Your Doctor/Trainer

The best way for you as teenagers or young adults is generally working closely with certified or experienced diet experts/trainers physicians relevant based on experiences shared by teen groups such these guys from fitteractive.com

Remember +One Size Doesn’t Fit Everyone+

Consulting with your physician ensures you get scientific guidance overall about how much lean muscle and correct nutrition intake across all meals help achieve optimum BMIs within gender-based guidelines described earlier!

Consider Overall Health Goals

Everyone wants something different health-wise whether physically active fitness targets for sporty teens; Maintaining reasonable but healthy eating habits without overeating junk food and simple sugars teenagers with hereditary medical conditions/ illnesses other beyond the scope of just eating; while some may be aiming for a full-on body transformation!

Try Not To Obsess

It‘s easy to get frustrated or down on yourself if you’re not hitting the ‘healthy” BMI numbers. Remember—these are just guidelines, and what’s more important is that you feel healthy overall. At the end of the day it’s about developing habits that make you feel good—not stressing over meeting an arbitrary number.

Bottom Line?

While there isn’t necessarily one perfect “ideal” BMI for 16-year-olds, it’s important to keep tabs on your own personal health goals and consult with trained professionals when needed. Stay active! Eat Right—but remember Moderation is key here & don’t focus too much on happy scales rather than a sustaining healthy lifestyle journey!

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