Before most parents realize it, their boy has suddenly grown taller and stronger. So it is natural for many parents to wonder, “At what age do boys stop growing?”
According to the National Health Service (NHS) reports, boys grow taller at a slower rate, and their growth may stop at around 16 years. However, their muscular developments may continue until they reach adulthood (18 years) (1). However, every boy’s growth rate is unique. Hence, some may keep growing until their 20s.
Read on to know more about the growth rate of boys, how genetics influences their height, whether their growth rate differs from girls, the factors that may affect their growth, and whether you can help increase their height.
Puberty And Growth In Boys
Puberty in boys is a stage lasting about four years as a child develops into an adult. During this time, their body undergoes a growth spurt. This growth occurs in the long bones and other skeletal elements, so boys grow taller. They will also develop muscles, pubic and facial hairs, and a deep voice.
On average, the pubertal growth spurt in boys begins 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, endocrineiXTissues that produce and release hormones affecting the functioning of cells and organs. regulation, ethnicity, and physical activity (2). The peak of growth in height, facial size, and mandibular lengthiXThe length of the jawbone. 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 later 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 Height For Boys?
It is not easy to predict your boy’s height. On average, a boy 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.
These graphs measure the age and height of boys from 2 to 20 years with outer limits of the 5th and 95th percentile. Figure 1 shows the weight percentile relative to age, and Figure 2 shows the height percentile relative to age.
Instructions to read the graph: Track your child’s age, height, or weight on the graph and put a dot on the intersection. The percentile line closest to the dot is your child’s percentile rank for their respective weight or height. For example, if the dot is near the 5th percentile line, your child weighs more than 5% of children of their age (13).
2 to 20 years: Boys weight-for-age percentilesSource: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2 to 20 years: Boys stature-for-age percentilesSource: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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 disordersiXA health condition that keeps the thyroid gland from functioning normally.
- Chronic illnesses such as cystic fibrosisiXA genetic condition that causes accumulation of thick mucus that can damage the lungs and digestive tract , sickle cell anemiaiXA condition that can damage red blood cells by depriving them of sufficient blood and oxygen. , and celiac diseaseiXAn autoimmune disorder that may be triggered by the consumption of gluten.
- 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?
Probably not. Your child’s height is mostly predetermined by their genetic makeup, 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.
Include foods rich in vitamins, calcium, and protein as these nutrients are essential for bone growth (8).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I recognize when my boys stop growing?
You may be able to determine the age by which boys will stop growing based on when they reach puberty. Another way is through an X-ray, where the doctor can check the bone growth and see if the cartilages of the long bones have closed up. This will indicate that the child has stopped growing (9).
2. How short is too short for boys?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, height below 5 feet 3 inches is considered short for boys (10). However, remember that each child is different and grows at a different pace. Moreover, growth is influenced by several factors, which can differ from person to person.
The growth rate of every child is different from the other and should not be compared. Boys are known to grow to their full height by the time they reach 18 years of age. But certain muscular development might even continue after that and, in turn, result in growth. Therefore, if your little champ is meeting all his growth milestones at the correct time and showing signs of proper development, there is no reason for you to worry. However, if you notice signs of developmental delay and stunted growth, it is advised to consult your pediatrician.
Infographic: How To Increase Boys’ Height Naturally?
A boy’s height will depend on several factors beyond anyone’s control. Nevertheless, a few measures might increase the boy’s height than they usually would achieve without interventions. Go through the infographic to learn natural ways to increase height in boys.
- The pubertal growth spurt in boys typically begins around 11–12 years.
- An individual’s genetic sequence determines 80% of their height.
- The growth rate of boys and girls differ, and the average difference in their heights is 11 to 13 cm.
- Your child may experience growth delays for various reasons, including disturbance of growth hormones, genetic abnormalities, etc.
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).
9. When do boys stop growing and how to grow taller; Act For Libraries
10. For kids, how short is too short; Yale Medicine
11. Gynecomastia (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth
12. Body Size of Twins Compared with Siblings and the General Population: From Birth to Late Adolescence (vu.nl)
13. 2 to 20 years: Boys, Stature-for-age and Weight-for-age percentiles; CDC