How Much Belly Fat Is Normal For A Teenager – Healthy Body Fat

Belly fat is one of the most common complaints that teenagers have these days. Whether you are a teenage boy or girl, having too much belly fat can cause serious health issues like type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and it can also negatively impact your self-esteem and confidence. But how much belly fat is normal for a teenager and how can you safely lose it in your teen years and after puberty?

Generally, 10-12 percent is the healthy body fat percentage for teenagers. However, this answer to the ideal body fat percentage may not fit every teen girl or boy. It is considered to be unhealthy belly fat if you are 20 pounds over your weight according to BMI.

Having too much fat around your groin area? See how to get rid of PCOS belly.

how much belly fat is normal for a teenager

What Is Belly Fat?

Belly fat, also known as visceral fat or abdominal fat, is a type of body fat that is stored around the midsection. Unlike subcutaneous fat (which is stored just beneath the skin), visceral fat is located deep in the body, in the abdominal cavity and it surrounds your organs.

“Visceral fat is the most dangerous body fat. It is known to increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”

Belly fat is getting common among teenagers, perhaps due to the high consumption of simple carbs which are found in processed foods. Recent research shows that about 52% of teen girls and 34% of teen boys experience unhealthy levels of belly fat.

teen belly fat

So, what exactly should your levels be, and how can you safely reduce or eliminate unwanted belly fat?


How Much Belly Fat Is Normal For A Teenager?

There is no one “normal” level of belly fat that applies to all teenagers. Instead, the amount of belly fat that you have will depend on your age, gender, and current weight.

Since there is no “one figure” answer that can explain if your belly fat is above the level or just fine, the following ways can tell if you are carrying extra fat around your waistline and it could be dangerous;

  • You are 20 pounds overweight according to your BMI.
  • Your jeans are getting too tight and won’t fit as they used to.
  • You are wearing extra-large clothes in your pre-teen and teenage.
  • Your shirt fits just right at the shoulders but is too tight to button up around the tummy.

All of these symptoms can lead to the thought of having unhealthy belly fat – a cause for concern!

body fat percentage for teens

Researchers agree that the ideal body fat percentage for male teenagers should be 10%, and the healthy body fat percentage for teenage girls should be 15%.

The belly fat may go away after you pass your teenage, however, it will not be the case always. You should develop a habit of eating a healthy diet and exercising at least 3 days a week.


Is Belly Fat Dangerous For Teenagers?

At any age, having excess belly fat can have negative health implications. Particularly for teenagers, carrying too much visceral fat around the midsection can increase the risk of developing adult conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In general, most teens tend to carry some amount of belly fat, with girls typically having more than boys prior to puberty. This is because girls naturally have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies from puberty onwards.

Estrogen, along with other hormones such as testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), is known to influence abdominal adiposity in adolescents.

Therefore, for most teenagers today, moderate amounts of belly fat are generally nothing to worry about – but it is important to pay attention to your body composition and diet habits in order to avoid developing excess belly fat as you get older.


How To Know If Your Belly Fat Is Too Much Or Just Fine?

There are several ways to determine whether your belly fat is too much or just fine.

The best and most accurate indicator is your body mass index (BMI). This measure takes both height and weight into account to give you an indication of how much excess fat you may be carrying. In general, a healthy BMI range is 18.5 to 24.9, with anything over 30 being considered obese.

Another valuable metric to consider is your waist size. A measurement above 34 inches for teen girls and 36 inches for teen males may point towards increased levels of belly fat, while a measurement below 26 inches for teen girls and 28 inches for teen boys could indicate that your body composition is relatively lean.

You can also track changes in your waist-to-hip ratio over time in order to monitor any changes in the distribution of body fat around your midsection.

By using these simple indicators, you can gain a better understanding of whether your belly fat needs further attention or not.


Does Belly Fat Go Away After Puberty?

It is well known that teenage bodies experience fluctuations in hormone levels and are still developing during puberty. This can often result in changes to a range of physiological factors, including weight distribution. As a result, it is common for teenagers to have extra belly fat during this period and it can be a challenge to lose it during puberty.

However, there is no reason to worry, as this excess belly fat should tend to go away after puberty is fully completed. Especially for girls, as they grow taller after their early teens, they are likely to get leaner and reduce body fat.

Research has shown that lean body mass tends to increase over the course of adolescence, eventually outpacing the amount of abdominal fat. As a result, belly fat seems to be reduced in most individuals by the time they reach their early twenties.

does belly fat go away after puberty

On the other hand, teen belly fat may not go away after puberty is completed. It could be due to various factors, such as unhealthy eating habits, sleep disorders, sedentary lifestyles, and stress.

Thus, if you want to get rid of belly fat after your teen age, it is essential to make healthy dietary choices and involve in physical activity to keep burning extra calories.


How To Lose Belly Fat As A Teenager

Teenage is categorized into the following groups;

  • Pre-teenagers – 10 to 12 years old
  • Teenagers – 13 to 16 years old
  • Older teens – 17 to 19 years old

If you are concerned about teen belly fat, there are several things that you can do to safely and effectively reduce or eliminate unwanted abdominal fat and improve your overall health. These tips include:


1. Make A Habit Of Eating Healthy Foods

Eating clean and healthy food is the first step towards losing belly fat at any age. Refined carbohydrates and sugar are best friends of visceral fat, that’s what we need to break. And the worst part is, the more you eat them – the more you crave them!

To lose belly fat fast and effectively, teenagers should avoid or reduce processed foods and added sugar, instead eat more lean protein, healthy fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

There are some foods that burn belly fat while you asleep, try including them in your dinner.


2. Get Involved In Physical Activities – Play A Sport

In addition to a healthy diet, regular physical activity is also important for reducing belly fat and achieving overall health. It burns calories and stops the body to store extra calories as fat.

Studies have shown that sustained physical activity can help reduce levels of visceral fat over time – even in people who are overweight or obese.

One of the best ways to achieve this is by participating in sports or other physical activities such as running, dancing, or swimming. Not only will these activities help burn excess calories and promote fat loss, they can also improve your overall health and mood by releasing feel-good endorphins.


3. Watch What Your Drink

Sugary beverages, including soft drinks and fruit juices, are one of the main sources of added sugar in the average teenager’s diet. And research has shown that sugary drinks are linked with increased belly fat, especially in people who regularly consume them.

Teenagers should limit their consumption of sugary and soda beverages in order to reduce their waistline. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives like water or unsweetened tea instead.

Additionally, drinking alcohol on a regular basis can also increase your risk of developing excess belly fat.


4. Do Not Skip Your Meals

Skipping meals is a common weight loss mistake that many teenagers make. However, it can actually increase your risk of developing belly fat over time.

Eating regular, balanced meals throughout the day can help regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, both of which are important for maintaining healthy body composition.

To reduce belly fat and keep it off, we recommend that teenagers make meal planning and regular eating a part of their daily routine. For example, you might set a goal to eat breakfast every morning, pack healthy snacks for school or work, and only allow yourself to eat after dinner if you are truly hungry.


5. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is also important for reducing belly fat, as it can help your body expel excess water weight and toxins.

A teenager should aim to drink at least one glass of water with each meal and snack, and 8 glasses of water per day, and if possible, add fresh lemon or lime juice to your drink for an added boost of antioxidants.


6. Manage Your Stress

It may sound strange to your but stress play a huge role in making you fat. When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone Cortisol, which can increase your appetite, and also allows your body to store excess fat in the abdominal regions, especially in youth.

To help keep stress under control, teenagers can try meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. You can also try setting aside time for activities you enjoy and connecting with friends or family.


7. Do Not Spend Too Much Time Watching TV

Research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can increase your risk of developing excess belly fat, especially if you are sitting for long periods of time without moving.

Watching TV for long hours keeps you away from physical activities, plus we are likely to eat more snacks while watching our favorite show.

In addition, sitting for a long time reduces the metabolism of the body, making it easy to store fat.


Exercises For Teenage Girl To Lose Belly Fat

Exercise is a great way to burn extra calories that our bodies store as fat. Along with that, we burn stored calories while workouts – so it’s a double plus.

exercises for teenage girl to lose belly fat

Losing body fat becomes easier if we exercise 3 to 4 times a week, and better if we do more. And the good news, teenagers do not need to sweat for an hour in the gym every day, moderate to intense workouts for 20-30 minutes per session are good enough to maintain a healthy weight.

Here are the most effective exercises for a teenage girl to lose belly fat;

  • Running
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Swimming
  • Rope jumping
  • Crunches
  • Reverse crunches
  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Planks
  • Leg raise
Workout For Teenagers To Burn Belly Fat


Bottom Line

Having excess visceral fat is dangerous at any age, especially in the teenage because it may lead to serious health issues as you grow older. If you have a kind of bear belly and wondering how much belly fat is normal for a teenager, one figure may not fit all.

As a general rule, having more than 20% body fat is an alarming situation for a teenager and it should be treated immediately. You will need to make healthy lifestyle changes such as healthy food choices and reduce sedentary habits to lose belly fat and achieve a healthy weight.


Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)

Should a 14 year old worry about belly fat?

Normally, a 14 year old should not worry about belly fat. There are high chances of gaining weight in your teenage due to hormonal changes, however, it will go away as your puberty completes or when you grow taller.

However, if a teenager has more than 30% body fat, he should worry about it and take measures to maintain a healthy weight.


Is a little belly fat okay?

Having a little belly is okay as long as you are not too lazy or adopted a more seated lifestyle. Keeping yourself active most of the time and eating healthy food is all you need to feel healthy, a little belly fat will not cause much a harm.


Is belly fat normal for teen girls?

Yes, belly fat is normal for teen girls because they are likely to gain weight especially in the mid-section during puberty, that’s because of hormonal changes. However, having too much belly fat could be a danger for teen girls.


How can a 14 year old get a flat stomach?

A 14 year old can get a flat stomach by incorporating the following lifestyles;

  • Make healthy dietary choices, eat more lean protein, fruits and vegetables containing fiber, and healthy fats.
  • Avoid simple carbs, processed foods and sugary drinks.
  • Engage in more physical activities or join a sports club.
  • Do not let the study load stress you out.
  • Do not spend hours sitting in front of a screen, get on your feet and stay active.
  • Incorporate exercises, especially cardio combined with abdominal workouts.



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