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Different Stages of Growth and Development

By Adam Marcowitch : A how to tutorial about Growth and Development, Grow Taller, Health and Fitness with step by step guide from Adam Marcowitch.

The events of puberty trigger the transition between childhood and adulthood. During this four to five year period of growth and development, secondary sexual characteristics appear, skeletal growth accelerates then stops and fertility is achieved. The adolescent’s cognitive capabilities, relationships and self-concept undergo profound changes.

The chapter on puberty describes the physical changes that occur during puberty. Before puberty, girls and boys average about two inches of skeletal growth per year, but during puberty there will be a growth spurt that lasts one or two years for each individual. Girls reach their maximal growth rate about six to twelve months before their first menstrual period, and this growth rate is only maintained for a few months. There is also a large spurt in the hip width for females during puberty. Boys have a growth spurt of approximately four inches per year, but this peak velocity lasts only a few months.

Girls enter puberty on average one year earlier than boys, and girls also have their growth spurt earlier in the sequence of puberty than do boys. Because of these two differences, for a period of time, usually around grade sixth or grade seven girls are taller than boys. The final height difference between boys and girls is about five inches on average. This occurs for several reasons. Since girls enter puberty earlier than boys and end puberty sooner, they do not grow for as many years. And secondly, the peak height velocity in inches for boys exceeds that of girls.

For most adolescents, their final adult height is usually a direct result of their genetic makeup. That is, their height is related to the genes inherited from both parents. However, chronic illness such as cystic fibrosis, hormonal problems, time of initiation of puberty or other unexplained events may affect total height achieved.

The National Center for Health Statistics in collaboration with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion publishes growth charts for boys and girls from age two until twenty years. They charts are derived from data collected in the United States from a cohort of adolescents.

There is a weight for age chart and stature for age chart for both boys and girls. In figure 1, the stature for age percentiles: girls, two to twenty years, on the X-axis one notes the age in years and on the Y-axis one notes inches or centimeters on the stature axis. Representing percentiles, there are nine curved lines that begin at age two years and end at age twenty years. These percentiles begin at the third percentile at the low end and the top percentile represented is the ninety-seventh percentile.

To find one’s place on the growth chart, one can find adolescent’s age on the X-axis and then follow the line up to find the adolescent’s height on the Y-axis. As an example, a fourteen-year-old girl who is sixty-three inches in height plots on the fiftieth percentile line. This means that about fifty percent of girls at age fourteen years are more than sixty-three inches tall, and about fifty percent are less than sixty-three inches tall. And one can plot one’s weight in a similar manner on the weight for age chart.

It is generally true, but not always the case, that a healthy adolescent will stay on the same height percentile during most of childhood and adolescent growth and development. This makes sense since an adolescent cannot alter his or her potential height. However, in a disease state, an adolescent may fall off his or her height percentile. This could occur, for example, in Crohn’s disease. And this may alert the clinician to look for health problems in the state.

On the other hand, all of us have more control over our weight. Therefore, it is very possible for an adolescent to alter his or her weight curve by exercising, taking in too many or too little amounts of calories. As an example, a teenage girl who is falling off her weight percentile may alert the clinician to look for disease such as an eating disorder.

If one is in the ninety-fifth percentile for height, this means that the teen is taller than ninety-five percent of the teens his or her age, and shorter than four percent of the teens of that age. Girls, who are over seventy two inches or under sixty inches may suffer some social consequences or enjoy some social opportunities. For example, the taller girl may be recruited for a sport such as basketball or the shorter girl may succeed in gymnastics. Taller males generally do not suffer social consequences, but adolescent males under sixty-four inches may feel Self-conscious about their height. These shorter males may do well as a coxswain in crew.

There are several formulas to estimate the adult height of adolescents. The first formula is to double the teen’s height when he or she was age two years. The other formulae use midparental heights. These usually predict the adult height of a teen within two inches around the actual height. The formula for girls is as follows:
Father’s height minus five inches plus mother’s height. Take this sum and divide by two to obtain the predicted adult height for girls.

For boys use the following formula:

Father’s height plus five inches plus mother’s height. Take this sum and divide by two to obtain the predicted adult height for boys.
Emotional growth and development occurs during adolescence and this is divided into three categories: early (twelve to fourteen years corresponding with middle school), middle (fifteen to eighteen years corresponding with high school) and late (nineteen to twenty-one years corresponding with college).

The following table outlines some of the tasks that adolescents need to achieve in the three categories:

Stage Emotional Task Independence Task

Early Adjustment to changing body Struggle begins to forge own
And emerging sexuality Identity and peer group begins to
Influence behavior

Middle Establishment of emotional Strong and influential
Separation from parents Relationships with peers

Late Personal sense of identity Ability to be self reliant
Further separation from parents Increasing emotional stability

Emotional growth and development does not necessarily correlate with an adolescent’s physical growth and development. While the body may be physically mature for some adolescents, they may not have a comparable maturity in their emotional growth. And it is important to recognize that even college students, who have achieved complete physical maturity and fertility, may not have successfully completed the tasks of emotional growth and development. It is incumbent upon parents, and then other important individuals in the adolescent’s life to help him or her achieve these tasks. This may mean to the adult allowing the adolescent to engage the task and successfully pass through the stage.

Many clinicians recognize that adolescents between the ages of fourteen to eighteen years are able to understand the risks and benefits of medical treatments. So called mature minors, they have undergone emotional and intellectual growth and development so that they are capable of making medical decisions although they generally cannot consent to surgical procedures. Parents should recognize that adolescents need to assume responsibility for their medical care, and should be comfortable allowing them to do so.

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When ask by most of the people were answering that only exercise should be adapted to increase you height. Yes there are a lot of exercises as well that can help you increase your height but after a certain age limit these heights are not at all influenced by exercises.

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The author has been in the field of Growth and Development for a long time and maintains a website about how to grow taller where you can get answers to the rest of your questions.

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