Our height changes throughout our lives. The average height for a child in the United States is around 3 feet 9 inches, but this can change based on many different factors including ethnicity and even time spent in utero. Here are some things you should know about how the human body grows throughout its lifetime!
Skeletal Differences in Males and Females
As a general rule, men are taller than women! This is mostly because there is a difference in the amount of ossification going on between genders which leads to men’s bone development being more complete by puberty. So if you want to compare yourself and your other-sex partner, you can do that at heightcomparison.com. There are also sex-specific differences when it comes to our skeletal system – for example, the pelvis is wider in females which leads to increased stability with childbirth. When it comes to how our bones change over time though, this isn’t that different from each other despite what was said above about male and female skeletons.
The Growth Hormone
The growth hormone is produced by the anterior pituitary gland and causes bodily growth. Your body will begin releasing this hormone during puberty, alongside the development of reproductive organs. The specific function of this hormone is to stimulate bone lengthening as well as cell reproduction. This type of hormone stimulates linear growth in bones via chondrocytes, our skeletal cells. This type of growth ends up being what allows us to grow taller as we age, and it also increases our bone mass. There are a variety of other functions that the hormone participates in as well, including cell-reproduction and absorption of glucose which is used to make energy for bodily processes.
The Growth Plate
This structure is made by cartilage during puberty (before this time, there’s not enough ossification within bone yet for this to be present). It surrounds the epiphyseal line which is where all elongation occurs due to growth hormone secretion. The hypothalamus gland sends out signals regarding when peak height velocity should occur (when chondrocytes replicate the fastest) through the secretion of another hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). The human growth hormone is released along with other hormones during puberty in both males and females. During this time, the bones lengthen to accommodate the adult height. This process has a lot of natural variation in it though, so not everyone will necessarily reach their maximum adult height even if they went through puberty at the same time as someone else.
Height Genetics And Ethnicity
There are also genetic factors that lead to differences between people’s heights. These can be related to how tall your parents were around the time of your birth and whether or not you have any non-identical twins on either side of your family tree! The taller you are as an adult, the more confident you are that your parents were tall. There is one big study done on over 80 thousand people in the UK regarding height genetics up until the age of 16, and it has found some interesting results. There are two different genes for height located on chromosome number 6 – they are called the “somatotropin” (STH) gene which controls both the growth hormone levels as well as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1). The second gene brings together cells that develop into muscles, bones, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, etc. This is known as myostatin (MSTN).
From Birth to Late Adolescence
At birth, a baby has around 7 billion mesenchymal stem cells which generate the baby’s bone mass. By age 10, these numbers have dropped to between 1 and 2 billion. There is no difference in the number of skeletal stem cells between boys and girls, but there are differences in how they develop. Bones will continue lengthening until a person is around 20 years old! After this time, ossification begins to increase bone mass while getting rid of extra cartilage through calcification. Peak height velocity occurs when an individual reaches 16-18 years of age for women and 18-20 years of age for men (it is important to note that some ethnicities mature later than others).
The growth that occurs as a result of our growth hormone coming from the anterior pituitary gland lasts until we reach puberty. This is because this type of growth depends on hormones such as the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone which are released during puberty. After puberty, an individual’s height reflects mostly their genetics and environment (which includes what diseases they may have gotten and how much nutrition they were given).
There are many factors involved in how our height changes throughout our lives. These include anything from genetics to the environment (including diseases and nutrition) as well as ethnicity and time spent in utero! Now that you know the facts, you can learn about your height as it changes through the years!