Teens going through puberty
will have many changes in their developing bodies as growth surges and muscles change
There's a very broad range of time in which kids hit puberty-related growth spurts:
Most girls start their sexual development between the ages of 8 and 13 (the average
age is 12), and have a growth spurt between the ages of 10 and 14.
Most boys start developing sexually between the ages of 10 and 13, and continue
to grow until they're around 16.
Growth and Changes During Puberty
Puberty — or sexual
development — is a time of dramatic change for both boys and girls. Hormone-driven
changes are accompanied by growth spurts that transform kids into physically mature
teens as their bodies develop.
It's important for them to have healthy eating habits, a well-balanced diet, and
some physical activity each day to ensure continued growth and proper development
during these years.
Changes in Girls
Events in girls as they go through puberty:
Breasts begin to develop and hips become rounded.
An increased rate of growth in height begins.
Pubic hair begins to appear, usually within 6 to 12 months after the start of
Pubic hair is well established and breasts grow further.
The rate of growth in height reaches its peak about 2 years after the start of puberty.
Menstruation begins, almost always after the peak growth rate in height (average
age is 12.5 years).
Once girls start to menstruate, they usually grow about 1 or 2 more inches, reaching
their final adult height by about age 14 or 15 years (younger or older depending on
when puberty began).
Changes in Boys
Boys tend to show the first physical changes of puberty between the ages of 10
and 16. They tend to grow most quickly between ages 12 and 15. The growth spurt of
boys is, on average, about 2 years later than that of girls. By age 16, most boys
have stopped growing, but their muscles will continue to develop.
Pubic hair appears, followed by underarm and facial hair.
The voice deepens
and may sometimes crack or break.
The Adam's apple, or larynx cartilage, gets bigger.
Testicles begin to produce sperm.
At the Doctor's Office
Normal growth — supported by good nutrition, enough sleep, and regular exercise
— is one of the best overall indicators of your teen's good health.
Despite data collected for growth charts, "normal" heights and weights are difficult
to define. Your teen's growth pattern is largely determined by genetics. Shorter parents,
for instance, tend to have shorter kids, whereas taller parents tend to have taller
Although you may worry if your child isn't as tall as other classmates, the more
important question is whether your child is continuing to grow at a normal rate. If
your doctor detects a problem — such as a growth rate that had been normal but
has recently flattened — he or she may track your child's measurements carefully
over several months to see whether the growth pattern suggests a possible health problem
or is just a variation of normal.
It's not unusual for teens to have their own concerns about how they're growing
and how they look. Girls can be very critical of their own weight, which can sometimes
lead to unhealthy body image
concerns and dieting practices. Boys tend to be more concerned with their height and
muscle development, which can also lead to unhealthy practices, like using steroids
and protein supplements.
If you're concerned about your teen's body image, or eating and exercise habits,
talk with the doctor.
Many teens worry a lot about being different from their peers and about anything
that would make them not fit in or seem "normal." Encourage
your teen to bring up any of these concerns with the doctor, if he or she feels comfortable
doing so. The doctor can provide reassurance that other kids have the same concerns
about their size.
If you have any other concerns about your teen's growth or development, talk with