What is The “Normal” Weight Of A Person? How Is It Determined?

The normal (perhaps a better term is “healthy”) weight for an individual is actually a function of age, gender, and height. Charts published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) represent the weights and heights for American children. Most of these charts show the healthy weight for a child, although some are actual measure-ments of weights of children in the United States and represent the “real” weights but not necessarily healthy weights. Several of the charts are included in Appendix B of this book. A complete set of charts from the CDC is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts.

Online calculators are also available to do the math for you. This calculator will take your child’s gender, age, height, and weight and give you the percentile that he or she is now and what the “ideal” body weight should be Google.

The data in the charts are arranged by age and gender and are placed into “percentiles.” A percentile is the per-centage of the population that weighs a given amount or less. Table 1 shows some examples in graph form.

For example, look at the 10-year-old boy line that is highlighted. If your son weighs 55 pounds, then 5% of all other boys weigh less than he does and 95% weigh more. If he weighs 71 pounds, then half weigh more and half weigh less. If he weighs 102 pounds, then only 5% weigh more and 95% weigh less.

As you can see from this chart, boys and girls weigh roughly the same until the age of 10, or so, when the boys start getting bigger than the girls. These are notnormal weights, but the actual weights of American children, as measured by the CDC and published in 2000. Many authorities feel that on the average, Americans are too heavy. Thus, these chart weights may be too high for optimal health.

Weight percentiles for children.

Percentile 5% 10% 25% 50% 75% 90% 95%
Boy, 5 years 33 35 38 40 44 48 51
Girl, 5 years 32 33 35 39 44 48 51
Boy, 10 years 55 57 63 71 80 93 102
Girl, 10 years 53 57 63 72 83 96 106
Boy, 15 years 94 99 110 124 140 159 173
Girl, 15 years 89 94 102 114 129 151 165

If your 10-year-old son weighs 55 lbs., 5% of other boys his age weigh less and 95% weigh more. If he weighs 71 lbs., half weigh more and half weigh less. If he weighs 102 lbs., only 5% weigh more and 95% weigh less.