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Puberty is a stage where more developmental changes occur during puberty than in any other life stage. For teens and even parents, it can be a scary and confusing point in life. It can be tremendously helpful to know about and educate yourself on these changes before they occur. It is also crucial to recognize that no two people are the same and so puberty comes at different rates and times for everybody. So, what are some of the more common tell-tale signs of puberty?

  • The percentage of body fat
  • The percentage of lean body mass
  • Total body fat
  • Total Lean Body Mass
  • Bone-mineral content

For #1 on the list, weight gain consists of fat, muscle, bone, and organs (for both boys and girls!). It is important to realize that the inevitable weight gain noramlly occurs before the growth spurt. This is sometimes referred to as a “weight spurt”. In fact, about 20 percent of our height is obtained during puberty. Most girls start the growth spurt between ages 10 to 14, which is about a year after the onset of puberty. On average, males have their growth spurt two years after the first signs of puberty. As teens grow taller, their bones growth boosts as well. Bones first grow in length, then width, and lastly, density. Due to this growth pattern, there is a high risk of fracture as bones get longer before they get stronger.

Where does body composition factor in?

In this study, researchers from the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics collected data on over 3,000 girls and boys. They measured fat tissues using a variety of measurements, and tracked the children as they went through puberty, noting the age at which they reached various stages. As a result of the study, the data showed that children who had higher levels of adipose tissue began to mature earlier than their peers.

Creating Healthy Habits Early On

So, what can you do as a parent to encourage healthy habits early on?

Stay active together! Take a walk at night instead of staying home to watch TV. Alternatively, choose to snack on fresh vegetables and fruit so that you role-model what healthy dietary choices look like.

Encouraging young ones to create healthy habits early on such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help set them up for success throughout their teenage years and beyond. For more tips on how promoting healthy family habits, read this article: