Skeletal Development During Adolescence (11 years-19 years)
- Bone growth during adolescence is crucial. Peak bone mass is achieved in the third decade of life and is not built up after this.
- This is the time that adolescents go through puberty. The increased sex hormones during this time lead to an increase in size and bone mass of the teenage skeleton.
- The end of puberty marks the end of most bone growth for a majority of people. This is due to the fact that between the ages of 15 and 20, most of the epiphyseal plates close, meaning there is no more longitudinal bone growth.
- Up until this time period, more bone is produced than broken down so that bones can continue to grow. After this however, more bone is broken down than produced.
- There are many factors that can effect bone growth in adolescence.
- As with childhood bone growth, it is important to acquire weight-bearing physical activity on most days of the week in order to achieve a high peak bone mass.
- Also, it is still important to maintain a healthy diet, including calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is necessary for mineralization of the bone and cartilage matrix, and vitamin D is needed in order for the body to efficiently absorb the calcium.
- Bone growth is also increased during adolescence due to an increase in sex hormones. If people are deficient in any of these hormones, it may be harder for them to achieve a high peak bone mass.