As kids grow from grade-schoolers to preteens, there continues to be a wide range
of "normal" regarding height, weight, and shape.
Kids tend to get taller at a pretty steady pace, growing about 2.5 inches (6 to
7 centimeters) each year. When it comes to weight, kids gain about 4–7 lbs.
(2–3 kg) per year until puberty starts.
This is also a time when kids start to have feelings about how they look and how
they're growing. Some girls may worry about being "too big," especially those who
are developing early. Boys tend to be sensitive about being too short.
Try to help your child understand that the important thing is not to "look" a certain
way, but rather to be healthy. Kids can't change the genes that will determine how
tall they will be or when puberty starts. But they can make the most of their potential
by developing healthy eating habits and being physically active.
Your doctor will take measurements at regular checkups,
then plot your child's results on a standard growth
chart to follow over time and compare with other kids the same age and gender.
Helping Your Child Grow
Normal growth — supported by good nutrition, enough sleep,
and regular exercise — is one of the best overall indicators of a child's good
Your child's growth pattern is largely determined by genetics. Pushing kids to
eat extra food or get higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients will
not increase their height and may lead to weight problems.
Pubic hair is well established and breasts grow further.
The rate of growth in height reaches its peak by about 2 years after puberty began
(average age is 12 years).
begins, almost always after the peak growth rate in height has been reached (average
age is 12.5 years).
Once girls get their periods, they usually grow about 1 or 2 more inches (2.5 to
5 centimeters), reaching their final adult height by about age 14 or 15 years (younger
or older depending on when puberty began).
Most boys show the first physical changes of puberty between ages 10 and 16, and
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.
The Adam's apple, or larynx cartilage, gets bigger.
Testicles begin to produce sperm.
At the Doctor's Office
Despite data collected for growth charts, "normal" heights and weights are difficult
to define. Shorter parents, for instance, tend to have shorter kids, whereas taller
parents tend to have taller kids.
You may worry if your child isn't as tall as other kids that age. But the more
important question is whether your child is continuing to grow at a normal rate. If
your doctor finds a problem — such as a growth rate that had been normal but
has recently slowed — he or she may track growth carefully over several months
to see if the pattern suggests a possible health problem or is just a variation of
If it's found that your child is growing or developing too slowly, the doctor may
order tests to check for medical conditions such as hypothyroidism,
growth hormone deficiency, or other things that can affect growth.
If you have any concerns about your child's growth or development, talk with your