Teen Boys Eat A Lot

A-boy-eating-a-hamburgerThat’s the conclusion of a scientific study. I know, right? Tell us something we don’ t know!

But the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, could be reassurance for parents and teen boys in this day and age of eating disorders. While we tend to associate eating disorders, dieting and poor body image with girls, boys are affected too. Just today, another mom told me that her 7-year-old son recently asked if he was fat. (He’s not.) And my 12-year-old son, a growing boy if ever there was one, frequently expresses concern about the weight he’s gaining. He’s gotten the societal message that weight gain is bad — at 12-years-old.

Teenage boys, though, need to eat. According to the study, prepubescent boys average nearly 1300 lunchtime calories, compared to girls’ 900 calories. Boys in their mid-teens typically consume around 2000 calories at lunch. While that might sound like a lot (particularly to our weight-obsessed brains), boys need those calories to fuel their tremendous growth.

If you son starts obsessing about his weight, obsessively counting calories or exercising in the extreme, pay attention. As Adelaide Robb, an associate professor of psychiatry, said in a 2007 Washington Post article, “A teenage boy shouldn’t be eating what his 110-pound, dieting mother would eat. It’s normal for a half-gallon of milk and a loaf of bread to disapper every 48 hours if there’s a teenage boy in the house.”

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“I learned a lot about helping boys thrive over the past 20+ years — most of it the hard way! I’m eager to share what I’ve learned to make your path a little easier.”   – Jennifer

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6 Responses

  1. That explains my food bill then. I was just ranting about how eating has become a national pastime in my home. With a 16 yo and a 13 yo (who seems to grow an inch a day), it makes sense according to the research.

  2. His 110 pound DIETING mother? Once I get to 110, there’s no more diet for me! HA!

    At one point, my boys were 18, 15, and 12. Now those were the days of heavy eating. I’m just thankful they were here to carry the groceries in from the car!

  3. I’m feeling this now, and my son doesn’t turn 2 for another few weeks. Everyone told me his eating would “slow down” once he turned 1…well if anything, it’s increased. There are days I swear he eats more than my husband. We try to offer a mixture of food and let him eat what he wants until he’s done (or bored, which often comes first)…but I often find myself astounded at how much he can eat.

  4. Shall I tell you that this post inspired me to go grocery shopping? If teen/tween boys really need that much, then I better make sure the house is stocked!

  5. Ha, you should ready my fb status tonight! I was just complaining about the fact I can’t keep food in the house!

  6. Really interesting post and study. My 12 yo is also concerned with gaining weight. He is very healthy, fit, and strong. I tell him he is supposed to gain weight with his age and height etc and we talk about protein and good snacks versus empty calories etc. I am thankful his older cousins are strong and fit and serve as good role models.

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