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Should Weight Gain be a Concern for Teens?

Updated: Nov 4, 2023



Diversity in body shapes and sizes is a natural part of being human. Adolescence is a time when many changes occur, and it's not unusual for some teenagers to worry about their weight, especially if they perceive themselves as too thin. However, it's important to understand that gaining weight during this phase of life is a normal part of development, and intentionally trying to put on extra pounds may not be the best approach..


Motivations for Wanting to Gain Weight

Teens may express a desire to gain weight for various reasons, including:


Concerns About Health: If a teenager believes that there may be an underlying medical issue causing their thinness, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional. While certain health conditions can lead to being underweight, they typically manifest with symptoms beyond just a lack of weight gain, such as digestive problems or discomfort. If any medical concerns arise, a doctor should be involved in the evaluation.


Feeling Left Behind: It's not uncommon for teens to compare their development with their peers. Puberty, which encompasses physical changes and weight gain, is a highly individual process. Some adolescents might experience these changes earlier, while others may undergo them later. On average, it may take three to four years for a teen to fully develop, both in terms of weight and muscle. It's important to remember that the onset of puberty varies among individuals, and there is no need to rush the process.


Delayed Puberty: Some teenagers may encounter delayed puberty, which means that the physical changes characteristic of this phase come later than usual. If you find yourself in this category of "late bloomers," rest assured that many of your relatives may have experienced the same. In most cases, there is no need for intervention. As you continue to grow and develop, you will naturally gain weight and muscle. However, if you are concerned about the timing of your puberty, it is advisable to discuss this with your doctor for guidance and reassurance.


I've always held a deep passion for a particular sport, but now I'm uncertain if I can pursue it. It's a common experience for many individuals to develop a love for a sport during their grade school or middle school years, only to face challenges when they find themselves sidelined as their peers progress more quickly. If you've always envisioned yourself playing football, it can be disheartening when it seems that your physical development doesn't align with your aspirations. Sometimes, waiting for your body to go through the changes of puberty may be the key to joining the varsity football squad.


Alternatively, you might want to explore other sports that better suit your physique. For instance, if you excelled as the quickest defensive player on your middle school football team but your body has since taken on a long and lean form, track and field might be a more fitting choice. Many adults discover that the sports they are most passionate about align with their body types.


It's crucial to remember that your body is uniquely yours, and as vexing as it may seem, there are certain aspects of development that you can neither rush nor alter. Nevertheless, there is a proactive step you can take to support your development: prioritize maintaining a healthy body. By doing so, you can promote proper growth and development.


If you find yourself grappling with negative feelings about your body or struggling with body image, it's essential to reach out to someone you trust and admire, who has navigated similar challenges. This person could be a parent, a doctor, a counselor, a coach, or a teacher. Engaging in open discussions about your feelings and concerns can be incredibly helpful during this transitional phase of life.

It's About Growth, Not Just Adding Pounds

Regardless of the motivation behind your desire to put on weight, there's a fundamental truth to consider: For most teenagers, there's no necessity to actively seek extra pounds. Gaining excess weight can elevate body fat levels, potentially leading to health concerns.

Instead, concentrate on promoting overall health and strength. As a teenager, part of your responsibility is to maintain a healthy and robust body that can support your growth and development. Prioritizing your well-being is a crucial aspect of your teenage journey.

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