When do boys stop growing in height?

by   |   Dec 14, 2021

One minute they’re babies; the next they’re towering over their parents. Boys seem to shoot up so fast and their pants get shorter every year without fail, but when do boys stop growing in height?

Unlike girls who generally stop growing around age 14-15, it is hard to pinpoint exactly when boys stop growing in height. That being said, their growth curve tends to flatten from ages 18 to 20. In some cases of “early bloomers” or “late bloomers”, boys’ height can stop increasing anywhere from 16 to their early 20s. 

To better understand the mechanisms behind boys’ height growth, let’s take a look at the various factors affecting their vertical development, the causes of stunted growth as well as what to do to ensure the best height growth for boys.

At what age does a boy’s height stop growing?

Most boys stop growing taller, according to the National Health Service (NHS), by the time they reach 16 years of age. Some boys may continue to get muscular and gain another inch or so until they reach their full adult height by the age of 18 [1].

Boys experience a huge growth spurt during puberty, starting as early as age 10 for some and as late as 14 for others. Although the age when puberty begins determines when their growth starts and stops, it does not necessarily affect how tall boys will eventually be.

boys stop growing

During this period, their height on average increases by 3 inches per year (7.6 centimeters). But each individual is different, and so is their growth rate. A universal observation is that boys who mature later tend to grow at a faster rate as if to make up for the lost time. It is also during puberty that boys achieve up to 92 percent of their final adult height.

Another point worth mentioning is that despite gaining almost the same average number of inches in height throughout their pubertal years, boys whose growth is stunted before puberty hits never make up for any deficits prior to that period.

What causes stunted growth in boys?

Stunting is defined as impaired growth and development in children. It can have a variety of causes, ranging from genetic to environmental factors.

The growth of both boys and girls can be stunted in the event of a family history of delayed or stunted growth. Growth hormone deficiency can also stunt growth. Growth hormone plays the main role in body growth and development under normal circumstances. However, boys with a complete or even partial deficiency of this hormone cannot sustain a healthy growth rate.

Certain conditions such as Turner syndrome, Down syndrome, and Hypothyroidisma condition where kids have an underactive thyroid glandare other causes of stunted growth in boys and girls. Children with any illnesses that affect the heart, kidneys, digestive tract, or lungs are also at risk.

Often overlooked as a cause of stunted growth, poor nutrition is in fact the biggest contributor to growth failure around the world. Lack of proper nutrition might prevent a boy from growing as tall as he can. By contrast, a well-balanced diet can provide the body with essential nutrients to prevent or correct stunted growth.

What’s the median height for boys?

The average height of American men from 20 years old is 5 feet 9 inches or 69.1 inches (175.4 centimeters).

The earliest start of puberty for boys is 10 years of age, at which time most are under 54.5 inches tall (138.5 centimeters).

Below is the median height for boys from 8 to 18 years of age [2].

Age

The median height for boys 

(inches and centimeters)

8 50.4 inches 

(128 centimeters)

9

52.6 inches 

(133.5 centimeters)

10

54.5 inches

(138.5 centimeters)

11

56. 4 inches

(143.5 centimeters)

12

58.7 inches

(149 centimeters)

13

61.4 inches 

(156 centimeters)

14

64.6 inches 

(164 centimeters)

15

66.9 inches 

(170 centimeters)

16

68.3 inches

(173.5 centimeters)

17

69.1 inches

(175.5 centimeters)

18

69.3 inches

(176 centimeters)

Height by age for boys

Factors affecting the height growth of boys

Height is largely determined by one’s DNA. Scientists have identified over 700 different genes that dictate how tall boys would be as adults. Among these genes, some influence the secretion of growth hormone whereas others affect the growth plates. That is why some genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome and Down syndrome interfere with a person’s height growth.

when-do-men-stop-growing-in-height

Other biological mechanisms such as hormones may have a say in boys’ physical development, although further studies are needed to understand their exact roles.

Aside from genetic and biological factors, the height growth of boys is also under the influence of environmental factors, including whether the mother smokes during pregnancy, meets her nutritional requirements, or is exposed to hazardous substances.

Nutrition continues to play a crucial role in healthy development after birth. Boys with a nutritious, balanced diet are more likely to be taller as adults than those with a poor diet. Proper sleep and an active lifestyle are important height determinants that can easily be leveraged for boys to reach their maximum height potential.

Socioeconomic factors such as healthcare, income, living conditions, and education are also thought to influence the body’s vertical growth. Some believe that ethnicity determines a person’s height, but studies have shown significant improvements in the height of the next generations of immigrant families moving to a place with easier access to healthy food, better healthcare, and higher living standards.

This suggests that non-genetic factors profoundly affect boys’ height growth and ultimately their adult height.

factors-affecting-the-height-growth-of-boys

How to ensure the best growth for boys

None of us can control the genetic and biological determinants of height, but we can totally take advantage of non-genetic factors to maximize height growth.

Have a nutritious diet

Children and teenagers are recommended to eat a balanced, varied diet with lots of veggies and fruits. This way they can absorb all the vitamins and minerals needed to get taller fast. Calcium and protein are also indispensable to height growth and bone health. Some foods rich in these two nutrients are milk, yogurt, cheese, seafood, poultry, meat, eggs, nuts, and seeds.

Drink plenty of water

One of the benefits of drinking water is to support you in reaching your optimal height. Water helps your body absorb nutrients in cells effectively. Besides, it helps remove toxins to enhance the optimal functioning of cells. Drink at least 7-8 glasses of water a day or more if you engage in sports to stay hydrated.

Maintain an ideal body weight

In fact, there is more difference between your width and height. You might appear taller thanks to the ideal illusion of proportions. But being overweight or obese might lead to some issues related to joints and posture, preventing you from standing at your real height.

Get enough sleep

Sleep facilitates growth and development in kids and adolescents. Why? Because the body promotes growth hormone at the highest levels during deep sleep. It is inarguably the easiest way to thrive and grow optimally.

get-enough-sleep-to-increase-your-height

Stay active

Regular involvement in physical activity not only promotes physical development but also enhances your overall health. Taking part in sports helps your bones grow stronger, denser, and healthier while stimulating growth hormone production. Playing outdoors is especially helpful for height gain as it allows the body to get enough vitamin D from sun exposure.

Expose to sunlight

Although you can get vitamin D from foods and supplements, do you know that sunlight is an abundant source of this essential vitamin? As we all know, vitamin D plays a key role in supporting healthy bones, regulating calcium levels, lowering inflammation, and assisting glucose metabolism and immunity. Depending on your skin’s shade, your body can synthesize vitamin D in about 5-30 minutes under the sun.

Practice proper posture

Boys will appear shorter than they actually are if they always slouch while standing and walking. It is best to walk, sit, and stand with the back straight with shoulders back. But remember that the proper posture needs to be practiced during growing years.

Avoid growth-stunting factors

Growth-stunting factors are more common than you thought. They are the junk food and soda that kids and teens just love. Smoking and drinking stunt growth as well, and should be avoided at all costs during growing years. Some people consider coffee as a growth inhibitor, but this assertion lacks sound evidence. The most probable explanation for this belief is that coffee may cause a lack of sleep or even insomnia, which negatively affects height increase.

avoid-growth-stunting-factors-to-increase-your-height

Take supplements

Getting good nutrition is not always so simple. Certain food allergies, malabsorption, and picky eating habits can make it extremely hard to ensure a well-balanced diet. Taking supplements might be an evolutionary way to absorb sufficient nutrients without having to consume all kinds of food. There are various types of supplements, including those specializing in boosting height growth. If you want to learn more about height growth supplements, click here.

What should a boy eat to grow taller?

Getting appropriate nutrients in daily diets is critical to ensure a boy’s proper growth and development. But what foods are good for their height growth? Keep scrolling to find the top 10 foods to help boys get taller effectively.

Beans

Beans are rich in protein, which is known to increase the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 for regulating growth in children. They also include iron and B complex vitamins that are required for tissue growth.

Eggs

Aside from 6 grams of protein in a whole egg, it also delivers a wealth of necessary nutrients for growth, such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, iodine, and selenium. A study pointed out that regularly consuming eggs was related to enhanced height monthly [3].

Leafy greens

Spinach, kale, arugula, cabbage, and other leafy greens generally provide a great amount of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. They are also rich in vitamin K, which is necessary for bone density.

Chicken

Chicken is a fantastic addition to a healthy diet thanks to its wide range of essential nutrients. It is particularly high in vitamin B12, protein, and taurine, which play a vital role in regulating bone formation and growth.

Almonds

Almonds are loaded with many vitamins and minerals needed for height increase, including vitamin E. Lacking this nutrient might lead to many side effects, even preventing normal growth in children [4].

Sweet potatoes

This is another best food for height growth that you should not miss. Sweet potatoes have a high amount of vitamin A as well as insoluble and soluble fibers. These are good for bone and digestive health, thereby promoting good gut bacteria growth. Since you have a healthy gut, you easily get the necessary nutrients for your body to grow.

Quinoa

Quinoa, considered a complete protein, has a high amount of magnesium, which is necessary for bone mineral density. Moreover, it includes a full dose of phosphorus, folate, and magnesium, which are also vital for bone health.

Berries

Berries are rich in vitamin C, an important vitamin for enhancing cell growth and tissue repair. Besides, it promotes collagen synthesis to improve bone density and bone health. Aside from vitamin C, berries have much more fiber, manganese, and vitamin K.

Yogurt

Some certain kinds of yogurt provide probiotics, which play a vital role in supporting gut health. Furthermore, yogurt has an excellent source of needed nutrients for bone metabolism, like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Cereals

Cereals are also an ideal food to improve height because of a high amount of fiber, vitamins, selenium, iron, and magnesium. What is more, they are rich in calories, which is vital for overall growth and development.

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/stages-of-puberty-what-happens-to-boys-and-girls/ 

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/data/set1clinical/cj41c021.pdf 

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5233559/ 

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188222/

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