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Teen Health

How Tall Will I Be?

What helps you grow and how to predict your future growth.
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When will my growth spurt start and end? How much can I expect to grow? How is it different for boys and girls?

A growth spurt normally lasts for two years and starts at different times for girls and boys. For girls, it typically starts around age 9 to 10. The fastest point is around 11 to 12 for girls. Boys usually start around age 11 and peaking at 13.

During this time, boys typically grow about 4 inches each year. Make that 3 inches per year for girls. This is why the average man is 5 inches taller than the average woman, Geffner says.

Boys and girls stop growing at the end of puberty. That's when their growth plates -- the area where their bones grow -- fuse, Grimberg says.

Is there anything I can do to get taller, like posture exercises, foods, or supplements?

The best way to grow as tall as you possibly can is to keep healthy, provide good nutrition, exercise regularly, and sleep well.

You need good nutrition to grow, but most children and teens can get that through food and beverages without needing supplements, Grimberg says.

Great posture is a plus, but it doesn't make you grow. Think of it this way: Posture doesn't make you taller, but it makes the most of your height, Grimberg says.

Be wary of any product that claims to make you taller. Geffner says that you can find products like pills in health food stores that say "growth hormone", often with "stimulator" in parentheses, but these are scams. You cannot take growth hormone as a pill. These products aren't as strictly regulated as you might think, so you have to be careful about claims.

Doctors can prescribe growth hormone shots for certain specific causes of shortness. But routine use should be completely discouraged. Some possible side effects include diabetes and increased fluid in the brain, Geffner says.

I'm so much taller or shorter than my classmates and I'm self-conscious about it. What can I do?

You're not alone. That's a totally normal, common reaction for short or tall kids.

But you can move on from that by working on your self-esteem. The best way to build this is to emphasize your strengths.

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