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This site is designed to support and expand the Hillendale Health Curriculum.


Learning about how your body grows and develops and how to take care of your body is an important part of Hillendale Health class. Our growth and development unit focuses on the changes that occur during adolescence and puberty. The following pages contain Important information about puberty and adolescence.

Puberty Link

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What starts these changes that we call puberty anyway?

When your body reaches a certain age, your brain signals your pituitary gland to release some important hormones (hor-moans). The pituitary gland is the master gland located at the bottom of your brain that is responsible for controlling the release and production of hormones in your body. Your pituitary gland is only about the size of a pea, but it is very important!

Hormones! Hormones are special chemicals that your body makes to tell it to do certain things - like grow up! Hormones are very important when you start to go through puberty, which is when you suddenly start growing and developing into an adult. You have had hormones in your body since you were born. Hormones are chemical messengers released by glands that help control things that go on inside your body. The pituitary gland is the master gland that is responsible for controlling the release and production of hormones in your body. During puberty, you're loaded with extra hormones that tell your body that it's time to get a move-on. Ready, set, grow!

How old will I be when my body starts to change?

Usually, puberty starts between age 8 and 13 in girls, and age 10 to 15 in boys, although some kids start puberty a bit earlier or later. It is considered normal for puberty to begin anywhere between the ages of 8,9 through ages 15,16. Each person is a little different, so everyone starts and goes through puberty on his or her body's own schedule.

What kind of changes will occur to my body?

One of the first signs that you're beginning puberty is the "growth spurt." This means that you will grow quickly in a short period of time. A growth spurt is when your body is growing very fast! When you enter puberty, it might seem like your clothes were left in the dryer too long and they 're shrinking - that's because you're experiencing a major growth spurt. It usually lasts for about 2 to 3 years. When an adolescent is experiencing a growth spurt they may grow 5 or more inches in 1 year!

Do boys and girls both have a growth spurt?

Yes, both boys and girls will experience a growth spurt. Girls on average begin puberty about two years before boys do. That's why girls usually experience their growth spurts first and tend to be slightly taller than boys in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade. Then boys tend to catch up around eighth grade and in high school. On average most girls will experience a growth spurt of 2-8 inches. A boys growth spurt will probably be 4-12 inches.

During periods of rapid growth, the body needs extra nutrition. Girls in particular need iron, calcium, and protein. Both boys and girls need three balanced and nutritional meals a day and they need to eat healthy snacks. Problems can arise in adolescent nutrition when skipping meals, going on crash diets, and partaking in junk food bingeing. Boys tend to worry about being too skinny and girls worry about being not skinny enough. Changes in weight and proportion are normal during puberty.

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Puberty | Contents | Glossary | Phys Ed | Health | Site Map | HES Index | Being Born

Male Reproductive System | Female Reproductive System | Review