Before you realize it, your doe-eyed boy starts growing taller and stronger. It is natural for you to wonder how strong or tall your boy might get. At the same time, you may also be thinking, “When do boys stop growing?”
According to the UK National Health Service (NHS), boys get taller at a slower rate and stop growing at around 16 years. However, they might continue to get muscular and reach full adult maturity by the age of 18 (1).
As each boy is different, so is their growth rate. Some boys may continue to grow even after their teenage. If you are curious to know more, read on as we tell you all about the growth rate in boys.
Puberty And Growth In Boys
Puberty in boys is a stage when their body undergoes a growth spurt. The growth occurs in the long bones and other skeletal elements, so, during puberty, a boy would grow taller and muscular. They will also develop pubic and facial hairs and a deep voice.
On average, the pubertal growth spurt in boys occurs at the age of 11–12 years. However, the growth rate may vary based on individuals and depends on various factors, including genetics, environment, nutrition, endocrine regulation, ethnicity, and physical activity (2). The peak of growth in height, facial size, and mandibular length happen at 14, 14.4, and 14.3 years respectively (3).
In some cases, boys may start puberty before the age of eight (early maturers) or after 14 years (late maturers). Although the growth starts late for late maturers, they tend to gain more centimeters during pubertal growth and reach the same height as the early maturers (1) (2).
How Does Genetics Influence The Height Of A Child?
Genes play a major role in determining the height of a child. Studies suggest that 80% of an individual’s height is determined by the DNA sequence variants they have inherited. Also, 50%–80% of the variation in puberty onset is seen due to genetic differences.
However, genetics is not the only factor that influences a child’s height. Other factors such as diet, activity level, infectious diseases, family’s income, and mother’s nutrition during pregnancy also influence a child’s height to some extent (2) (4).
What Is The Average For Boys?
It is not easy to predict your child’s height. On average, a child would increase in height by two inches (five centimeters) or more per year. As various factors determine the child’s height, it is impossible to predict how tall they would grow accurately.
However, scientists have come up with specific methods that can predict your child’s height. Although the results may not be the real value, you can give it a try.
Check out the various height prediction methods in our article, “How Tall Will My Child Be’: Can You Predict A Child’s Height?”
According to the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), the age-adjusted estimate for American men 20 years and older was 69.1in or 175.4cm in 2015–2016 (5).
The CDC growth chart for American boys from 8 to 20 years is as follows (6).
|Age (years)||50th percentile height (inches and centimeters)|
Note that these values are taken on an average as each child is unique, and so is their height.
Does The Growth Rate Differ Between Boys And Girls?
Yes, the growth rates and heights differ between boys and girls. This is why there are separate height charts for boys and girls. Studies have found that the peak growth rate and duration of the growth spurt are greater in boys than girls. Thus, the average height difference between adult males and females is approximately 11 to 13cm (2).
It is important to monitor your child’s growth consistently. If your child is within the average height limits, there is no reason to worry. However, if you notice any delay in growth, you may need to take them to your pediatrician.
What May Affect The Growth Rate?
Growth during puberty is a complex process regulated by hormones, genes, and other external factors, such as environment and nutrition. There could be many possible reasons for the delay in growth in children (2) (4) (7).
- Disturbances in the levels of growth hormone
- Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome
- Disturbances in insulin levels
- Thyroid disorders
- Chronic illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and celiac disease
- Anxiety or depression
- Obesity and malnutrition
Growth delays need to be identified early on and corrected so that they do not affect children’s growth.
Can You Increase Your Child’s Height?
Maybe not. Your child’s height is partly predetermined by the genetic makeup, so you may not be able to increase your child’s height drastically. However, with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, you can help them reach their full potential during puberty and growth spurts.
The growth rate is different for each child. If your boy meets his yearly milestones and is healthy and happy, you need not worry about their growth. However, if you notice any disturbances in their development, it is best to take them to a pediatrician.
2. Ashraf Soliman, et al.; Advances in pubertal growth and factors influencing it: Can we increase pubertal growth?; Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism (2014).
3. Zachary J Mellion, Rolf G Behrents, and Lysle E Johnston Jr; The pattern of facial skeletal growth and its relationship to various common indexes of maturation; American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (2013).
4. Is height determined by genetics?; National Institutes of Health
5. Cheryl D. Fryar, et al.; Mean Body Weight, Height, Waist Circumference, and Body Mass Index Among Adults: United States, 1999–2000 Through 2015–2016; National Health Statistics Report (2018).
6. Stature weight-for-age percentiles; Centers for Disease Control
7. Growth Problems in Children; University of Rochester Medical Center
8. G D Miller, J K Jarvis, and L D McBean; The importance of meeting calcium needs with foods; Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2001).
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