Anthropometry in Relation to Sexual Maturation

  • Silvia Diez Castilho
  • Antonio de Azevedo Barros-Filho


The wide variability in timing, sequence, duration and magnitude of pubertal events determines the need for assessing adolescents in relation to sexual maturation instead of age. During the maturation process there is a growth spurt, characterized by acceleration on growth velocity with an increase in weight, height and body mass index, change in body proportions and diameters and increase in muscle and fat tissue, which will determine the phenotype of each sex. Acknowledging this process, allows the correct understanding and assessment of anthropometric changes that may pose risks to an adolescent’s current and future health. During the spurt, they gain ∼20% of final height and ∼50% of final weight. While muscle mass doubles in boys, it increases only 50% in girls, who in turn accumulate more adipose tissue, reaching ∼25% of relative body fat (%BF), while boys reach ∼15% in adulthood. Therefore, during maturation, girls gain fat-free mass index and fat mass index while boys gain fat-free mass index and lose fat mass index. Proportionally girls gain fat and lose fat-free mass, while boys present a large increment of fat-free mass and lose fat mass. These findings appoint toward the need to assess body composition of adolescents for a correct nutritional diagnosis.


Growth Velocity Sexual Maturation Final Height Growth Spurt Pubic Hair 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Breast stage


Body fat mass index


Body mass index


Relative body fat


Fat mass


Fat-free mass


Fat-free mass index


Genitalia stage


National Center for Health Statistics


Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


Pubic hair stage


Peak height velocity




World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Diez Castilho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Antonio de Azevedo Barros-Filho
  1. 1.CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Núcleo de Pesquisa e Extensão - CCV-PUC-CampinasCampinasBrazil

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