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A healthy weight requires getting enough, but not too many, calories through the day. You need a certain number of calories to fuel your activities and body needs. If you get more calories than your body uses, it stores them as fat.
The number of calories you need is unique to your body and lifestyle. Girls need fewer calories than boys. If you're active or play sports, you need more calories than if you don't move around much. In general, girls who are moderately active need about 2,000 calories a day, and moderately active boys need 2,400 to 2,800 calories a day.
The kinds of calories you eat are important for a healthy body. You get vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, milk, cheese, meats, and fish. Sweets like candy, soda pop, and cookies give you lots of calories but few nutrients.
And calories can really add up before you know it. Fast food is a good example. A large order of french fries can have 600 calories or more. So one meal with fries, a large burger, and a large soda might add up to a whole day's worth of calories.
Your weight can affect the way you feel about yourself. Many teens are unhappy with their bodies because they aren't as thin as people they admire. Overweight teens are often bullied or teased. This can make them feel isolated and depressed and have low self-esteem. Some teens then use food to soothe their emotions.
Your self-esteem is your core belief about yourself. But how much you weigh doesn't define who you are. What's more important is being healthy and having lots of energy for all the activities you want to do, like being in theatre, playing music, volunteering for community service, or playing sports.
The best way to reach a healthy weight is to be active and eat healthy foods. When you're active and eating well, your body will settle into a weight that is healthy for you.
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Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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