Boys seem to grow at incredible rates, which may make any parent wonder: When do boys stop growing? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average, boys complete their growth by the time they are 16-17 years old. Some boys may continue to grow another inch or so in the later teen years.
Keep reading to learn more about growth in boys and what to expect.
How does puberty affect growth?
Boys go through a growth spurt during puberty. But the rates of growth can vary a lot because boys go through puberty at different ages. The age of a boy when he goes through puberty doesn’t affect how tall he will eventually be, but it will affect when his growth starts and stops. Boys tend to grow about 9.5 centimeters per year during puberty, gaining a total of 31 centimeters.
Boys tend to fall into two categories during puberty:
- early maturers, starting puberty around age 11 or 12
- late maturers, starting puberty around age 13 or 14
Both categories usually gain the same average of inches, but the late maturerers tend to grow at a faster rate to make up for lost time. During puberty, the peak height that boys reach is 92 percent of their adult height.
Boys who have growth restrictions before they start puberty still gain the same average amount of height during puberty. They never quite gain back any deficits from before puberty.
What’s the average height for boys?
The average height for men by age 20 is 176 centimeters, or around 5 feet 10 inches tall. The averages for boys ages 8-18 are listed in the table below.
Median height by age
The following information is from the CDC:
|Age||50th percentile height for boys|
What role do
genetics play in height?
Genes from both parents play a role in determining height and growth for both boys and girls. Other factors like diet, activity level, and the nutrition of the birth mother during pregnancy also affect height.
Do boys grow at a different speed than girls?
Boys and girls grow differently. Boys tend to grow at a faster rate during childhood. On average, boys also tend to be taller than girls. That’s why doctors use separate growth charts for boys and girls to measure growth over time.
Many average heights used for growth charts are based on studies conducted on Caucasians, and don’t take into account all ethnicities. The percentile your child falls into isn’t as important as consistency. If your child drops from the 40th percentile to the 20th, your doctor may recommend tests to determine an underlying cause.
Many things can cause growth delays, including:
- medical conditions that affect the thyroid
- growth hormones
- insulin levels
- sex hormones
- Down syndrome and other genetic disorders
Boys who are overweight and obese tend to have lower growth rates. Malnutrition during childhood could also delay growth.
Growth delays may be most noticeable during infanthood, which is why it’s important to keep on schedule with well-child visits. At each visit, your child’s doctor will track growth. That allows the pediatrician to detect a problem right away.
In general, American men tend to stop growing around the age of 17. Many factors can affect growth, and ultimately height. Nutrition, environmental factors, and even influences from the womb can affect growth.