Girls experience growth spurts at the start of puberty and many parents may wonder when do girls stop growing. The rate of growth up until a girl reaches puberty at the age of 8 to 13 happens very gradually. However, with the onset of puberty, the body starts to release hormones which cause a growth spurt as well as many changes in a girl’s body. Generally, girls stop growing between the ages of 15 and 17.
When Do Girls Stop Growing?
Girls generally grow fast in height around the ages of 9-12. Girls experience their fastest growth spurts around the ages of 11 and 12. During this time a girl grows in height on average around 3 inches (7 – 8cm) per year. When a girl has her first period, around the age of 12, growth slows down a little and a girl will grow a few more inches. So, the majority of girls will stop growing and reach their final height when they are around the age of 17 years old.
During this growth phase, breasts, hands, feet, and legs start to grow. A girl’s hips will also grow wider and rounder and her waist will become narrower. A girl will also grow more body fat on the thighs, upper back, and upper arm. According to Dr. Mellisa Homes who co-authored the book Girolology, this isn’t bad fat and is needed for a healthy reproductive system and menstrual cycle. So, you shouldn’t try to lose this fat by going on a diet.1
Girls actually stop growing earlier than boys because they start puberty at an earlier age. The age at which men stop growing is usually between 17-20. At the end of puberty, both men and women stop growing.
The chart below gives a better understanding of girls’ growth pattern and the age at which women stop growing. You’ll notice that by the age of 15, girls have grown to almost their full adult height and growth happens only gradually until the age of 20.
In the rest of the article, you can read about the factors that affect growth in women and what girls can do to maximize their full growth potential.
Growth chart of stature with percentiles of U.S. females aged 2-20 (NCHS 2000).
First of all, let’s look at the various growing phases during puberty and what factors affect how tall a woman will grow.
Growth in Women – Everything You Wanted to Know
When many girls start noticing the first signs of puberty, they may wonder how high they will eventually grow. Women are generally shorter in stature than men because they don’t grow as tall during puberty. Boys average 5 inches per year during their growth spurts whereas girls only average 3 inches.
There are various factors that influence how tall a woman will be. Dr. Vaneeta Bamba, a pediatric endocrinologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that there are 4 important factors influencing a woman’s height:
- environmental factors
From these factors, genetics play the greatest role.
One of the first physical changes girls notice at the start of puberty are changes in their breasts. According to the Office on Women’s Health, breasts may feel itchy and sore while they are growing during puberty.2 Dr. Brunilda Nazario on WebMD says that many women worry about their breast development. Dr. Nazario says that breasts continue to grow until a woman is 17 or 18 and it’s common for one breast to grow faster, but the slower one usually catches up.1
Growth of genitalia and pubic hair in girls
Another change that happens early in puberty is that pubic hair starts to grow. According to the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, throughout the course of puberty, pubic hair becomes coarser and thicker. It takes about 4 years for the genitals to become fully developed.3
Height growth in girls
Dr. Mitchell E. Geffner, a pediatrics professor at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, says that girls usually start their growth spurt around age 9 to 10. Girls have their fastest growth spurt between the ages of 11 and 12. After the age of 15, a girl won’t grow much more.4
Growth of body hair
Apart from pubic hair growing around the genitals, hair will also start to grow on other parts of the body. According to the Office on Women’s Health, hair will start growing in the armpits and on legs even before a girl has her first period.5
Menstruation happens to all women. Dr. Brunilda Nazario says that a girl will have her first period about two years after her breasts started to develop.6 Doctors from the NHS recommend talking to girls from an early age about what happens during menstruation using clear and age-appropriate language.
Other changes while a woman is growing
Another change that takes place during the growing phase in puberty is an increase in hormones which can lead to acne. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation says that sweat and oil produced by the skin can clog glands resulting in acne breakouts.8
If you are concerned about outbreaks of acne, please read my article on natural ways to get rid of acne. There you will find what causes pimples and how to get rid of them fast.
Dr. Amita Shroff on WebMD says that hormonal changes around menstruation can also cause stomach cramping, mood swings, and increased anxiety. Usually, the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) disappear when the period starts.9 You can find advice on relieving menstrual cramps in my article on this subject.
Factors Affecting a Girl’s Height
If you are interested to know how tall you will be and when you will stop growing, there are some ways to predict the height a woman will grow to.
Dr. Hansa Bhargava on WebMD says that the height of both a person’s parents mostly determines how tall a girl will be. You can use this calculation to work out the approximate height a girl will grow by using this formula:
- Take the father’s height and subtract 5 inches.
- Add this sum to the mother’s height.
- Divide the figure by two.
There are other factors apart from your genes that will determine what height a woman will be when she stops growing.
Apart from genetics, there are different environmental factors that influences how much girls grow during puberty. The journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) found that having access to healthy food, good health care, and proper sanitation affect growth before and during puberty.11
The EHP suggested that this is one factor why over the last century people in developed countries are taller in stature and mature more rapidly than in developing countries. As urbanization comes into developing countries, there is a growing trend that people are becoming taller.
Proper nutrition is essential for the health of any person, but it is even more important for children before and during puberty. So, eating the right food and having a healthy diet can help women grow taller.
The website Scientific American says that proper nutrition is essential for height even before puberty. They recommend that growing children receive the right amount of protein, calcium, vitamins A and D to maximize their growth potential. They concluded that the malnutrition in childhood negatively affects height and adequate nutrition before puberty is crucial for growth and height.12
The journal Economics & Human Biology published a report stating that, in general, nutrition is the most important external factor that impacts the height of European nations.
In the end, genetics influences about 60 to 80% of your height and nutrition about 20 to 40%.
Other factors affecting growth of girls
The journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) also pointed out other factors that affect a woman’s height. Some of these are
- Stress negatively affects the body and results in the body producing less growth hormone. When the stress is removed, the body releases more growth hormone to catch up.
- Climate can affect physical growth. It has been found that people in higher altitudes (where there is less oxygen in the air to feed the body) tend to be shorter. People also grow faster during springtime than in the other seasons.
- Physical activity may have an impact on growth. Some studies show that swimmers tend to mature quicker. However, the EHP reported that usually, only intensive training has an effect on body development.
However, the overall determining factor of your height is your genes and the height of your parents.
How Girls Can Maximize their Full Growth Potential
Maintaining a healthy diet during puberty is one of the best ways to reach optimal height before girls stop growing. Therefore, it’s important if you are a parent to help your children understand the importance of healthy food and nutrition. This can help boost your child’s growth during puberty and maintain good dietary habits in later life.
The Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that having a proper, well-balanced diet during infancy, childhood, and puberty is critical to healthy growth and proper development. The scientists found that girls who are overweight enter puberty earlier than those who have a healthy weight. During puberty, it’s essential to meet the increased nutritional needs of growing girls.15
You can determine if your child is overweight by calculating body fat percentage and measuring body fat. For advice on what to do if you or your child is overweight, please read my article on the best and easiest ways to get rid of excess body fat.
To enjoy a healthy, balanced diet during puberty growth, the Johns Hopkins Medicine Center gives the following practical advice:16
- Have 3 meals a day
- Eat fruit or vegetables for a healthy snack.
- Drink plenty of water to help prevent weight gain.
- Increase fiber intake by eating whole grains.
- Limit the consumption of saturated fats.
- Eat protein-rich foods that are low in fat. Some of the best sources of protein are chicken, fish, peas, and beans.
You may also be interested to read my article about the causes and dangers of early puberty as well as how to lower your children’s risk of early puberty in my article:Early Puberty – Causes, Dangers and Prevention
You can also read my article on When Do Men Stop Growing.
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