Is My Weight Gain Normal?

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(The Vancouver Sun, September 10, 2001)

Q: In the 6th grade, I weighed about 70 pounds and now that I’m in the 8th grade, I weigh almost 100 pounds. Is gaining this many pounds in only 2 years perfectly healthy during this age? If you’re wondering, I grew quite a lot in between the years but I’m still not sure…Thanks!

Y.J., Vancouver, BC

Saleema and Teresa: Yes! Yes! Yes! Not only is gaining 25-30 pounds in two years perfectly healthy at your age, it is exactly how much doctors tell us we have to gain during puberty in order to develop properly. You are right on schedule! You see, you need this bit of extra weight to have the energy to do the fun things you want to do as you get older. The tricky part is that every boy and girl gains weight a bit differently during puberty. I (Saleema) for example, gained a bunch of weight in 5th grade, but didn’t grow much in height. My poor mom spent a fortune on my clothes that year! In 7th grade, however, I grew about 4 inches in just a few months so everything evened out. Other kids seem to gain little bits of weight as they also get taller. Sounds like you’re one of them! Now, we’re not saying for one second that it is easy or fun to deal with your body changing in this way. But just remember that everyone in the world has to go through this process in order to become a healthy adult. We remember it well, that’s for sure! Please don’t do anything crazy like go on diet or starve yourself–we all know that doesn’t work and is very dangerous. Instead, be patient while nature takes its course, and appreciate your body for all that it allows you to do.