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Growth Rate

Infancy is a time of rapid growth. Generally, children double their birth weight by five months of age, triple it by twelve months, and quadruple it by twenty-four months. During the toddler years growth stabilizes by around five years, and children grow in height faster than in weight. Steady growth continues from seven to ten years of age. Gains in the thickness of fat tissue are greater in girls during this time because girls tend to reach puberty before boys. Adolescence and the onset of puberty bring another rapid growth spurt. In girls puberty typically occurs between eleven and fourteen years of age. In boys the growth spurt may begin at age twelve or thirteen, peak at fourteen, and end at age eighteen or nineteen. Generally, growth in boys is more rapid and lasts longer, and more muscle mass is gained. Growth potential is strongly influenced by genetics and through maintenance of proper health and nutrition.


Chumlea, William Cameron. "Growth and Development." In Patricia M. Queen and Carol E. Land eds., Handbook of Pediatric Nutrition, Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, 1993.

Satter, Ellyn. Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. Palo Alto, CA: Bull Publishing, 1991.

Jennifer E. N. Fedie

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 4