Pubertal Growth and Adult Height According to Age at Pubertal Growth Spurt Onset: Data from a Spanish Study Including 540 Subjects (281 Boys and 259 Girls)

  • Antonio Carrascosa
  • Angel Ferrández
  • Laura Audí
  • Elena Sánchez


Longitudinal growth studies show that age at pubertal growth spurt onset occurs as a continuum and is sex dependent. However, mainly due to the scant number of subjects included, these studies tend to present data on pubertal growth as for a single group, without considering the different maturity tempo of each subject included in them. Here, we present anthropometric pubertal growth data for five 1-year-interval age maturity groups, very early, early, intermediate, late, and very late, from a longitudinal growth study of 540 healthy subjects (281 girls and 259 boys). The onset of pubertal growth spurt began between the ages of 8 and 13 in girls and 10 and 15 in boys. According to age at pubertal growth spurt onset, subjects were allocated to the corresponding 1-year-interval age maturity group: very early, early, intermediate, late, and very late. A significant number of subjects were included in each group (75–101 for girls and 59–106 for boys) except in the very early (27 girls and 25 boys) and very late (19 girls and 17 boys) groups. Anthropometric pubertal data (total pubertal growth gain (cm), pubertal growth peak (cm/year), and adult height) were obtained for each of the five pubertal maturity groups in both sexes. In both sexes, the earlier the start of pubertal growth spurt was, the higher the peak height velocity, the total pubertal height gain, and the puberty duration were. Height at onset of pubertal growth spurt was lower in the early than in the late maturity groups. Adult heights were similar and did not differ significantly among the five pubertal maturity groups. Values for all five groups taken together, as a single group, were also similar to those of the intermediate group. Height-for-age and growth velocity-for-age growth charts for the early, intermediate, and late pubertal maturity groups were made. In summary, anthropometric data on pubertal growth are reported for five 1-year-interval age maturity groups according to age at pubertal growth spurt onset. These data might contribute to better clinical evaluation of pubertal growth according to the individual pubertal maturity tempo of each subject and help to avoid the mistakes currently made in the evaluation of pubertal growth when only one pubertal pattern (based on the data of the five groups taken together) is used.


Adult Height Maturity Group Growth Chart Testicular Volume Pubertal Growth 
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.



Body mass index



We acknowledge L. Baguer, MD, C. Rueda, MD, J. Bosch-Castañé, MD, M. Gussinyé, Ph.D., D. Yeste, Ph.D., J.I. Labarta, Ph.D., E. Mayayo, Ph.D., M. Fernández-Cancio, Ph.D., M.A. Albisu, Ph.D., M. Clemente, Ph.D., C. Fernández, MD, U. Aresti, Ph.D. for their contribution in the follow-up of these patients. We also acknowledge Francisco Hernandez for his help in growth chart construction and Christine O’Hara for her help with the English version of the manuscript.


  1. Abbassi V. Growth and normal puberty. Pediatrics. 1988;102:507–11.Google Scholar
  2. Albertsson-Wikland K, Luo ZC, Niklasson A, Karlberg J. Swedish population-based longitudinal reference values from birth to 18 years of age for height, weight and head circumference. Acta Paediatr. 2002;91:739–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berkey CS, Dockery DW, Wang X, Wypij D, Ferris B Jr. Longitudinal height velocity standards for US adolescents. Stat Med. 1993;12:403–14.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bundak R, Darendeliler F, Gunoz H, Bas F, Saka N, Neyzi O. Analysis of puberty and pubertal growth in healthy boys. Eur J Pediatr. 2007;166:595–600.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carrascosa A, Yeste D, Copil A, Gussinyé M. Secular growth changes. Weight, height and body mass index values in infants, children, adolescents and young adults from the Barcelona population. Med Clin (Barc). 2004;123:445–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carrascosa A, Audí L, Bosch-Castañé J, Gussinyé M, Yeste D, Albisu M, Clemente M, Ferrández A, Baguer L. Influence of the age at the start of pubertal growth on adult height. Med Clin (Barc). 2008a;130:645–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carrascosa A, Ferrández A, Yeste D, García- Dihinx J, Romo A, Copil A, Almar J, Salcedo S, Gussinyé M, Baguer L. Estudio Transversal Español de Crecimiento 2008: I.- Valores de peso y longitud en 9.362 (4.884 varones, 4.478 niñas) recién nacidos de 26-42 semanas de edad gestacional. An Pediatr. (Barc). 2008b;68:544–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carrascosa A, Fernández JM, Fernández C, Ferrández A, López-Siguero JP, Rueda C, Sánchez E, Sobradillo B, Yeste D. Estudio Transversal Español de Crecimiento 2008: II. Valores de talla, peso e índice de masa corporal in 32.064 sujetos (16.607 varones, 15.457 mujeres) desde el nacimiento hasta alcanzar la talla adulta. An Pediatr. (Barc). 2008c;68:552–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Castilho LV, Lahr MM. Secular trends in growth among urban Brazilian children of European descent. An Hum. 2001;28:564–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cole TJ. The LMS method for constructing normalized growth standards. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1990;44:45–60.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Deheeger M, Rolland-Cachera MF. Étude longitudinale de la croissance d’enfants parisiens suivis de l’âge de 10 mois à 18 ans. Arch Pediatr. 2004;11:1130–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferrández A, Baguer L, Labarta JL, Labena C, Mayayo E, Puga B, Rueda C, Ruiz-Echarri M. Longitudinal study of normal Spanish children from birth to adulthood (anthropometric, pubertal, radiological and intellectual data). Pediatr Endocr Rev. 2005a;2:423–559.Google Scholar
  13. Ferrández A, Baguer L, Labarta JL, Labena C, Mayayo E, Puga B, Rueda C, Ruiz-Echarri M. Estudio longitudinal de niños españoles normales desde el nacimiento hasta la edad adulta. Zaragoza: Fundación Andrea Prader; 2005b.Google Scholar
  14. Ferrández A, Carrascosa A, Audí L, Baguer L, Rueda C, Bosch-Castañé J, Gussinyé M, Yeste D, Labarta JI, Mayayo E, Fernández-Cancio M, Albisu MA, Clemente M. Pubertal growth standards according to age at pubertal growth spurt onset. Data from a Spanish longitudinal study including 458 subjects (223 boys and 235 girls). J Pediatr Endocr Metab. 2009;22:715–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fredriks AM, van Buuren S, Burgmeijer RJF, Meulmeester JF, Beuker RJ, Brugman E, Roede MJ, Verloove-Vanhorick SP, Wit JM. Continuing positive secular growth change in the Netherlands 1955–1997. Pediatr Res. 2000;47:316–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freeman JV, Cole TJ, Chinn S, Jones PRM, White EM, Preece MA. Cross-sectional stature and weight reference curves for the UK 1990. Arch Dis Child. 1995;73:17–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gasser T, Sheehy A, Molinari, Largo RH. Growth of early and late maturers. Ann Hum Biol. 2001;28:328–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hagg U, Taranger J. Height and height velocity in early, average and late maturers followed to the age of 25: a prospective longitudinal study of Swedish urban children from birth to adulthood. Ann Hum Biol. 1991;18:47–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kalberg J, Kwan CW, Gelander L, Albertsson-Wikland K. Pubertal growth assessment. Horm Res. 2003;60(Suppl 1):27–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Largo RH, Prader A. Pubertal development in Swiss boys. Helv Paediatr Acta. 1983a;38:211–28.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Largo RH, Prader A. Pubertal development in Swiss girls. Helv Paediatr Acta. 1983b;38:229–43.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Llop-Viñolas D, Vizmanos B, Closa R, Escribano J, Fernández-Ballard JD, Martí-Henneberg C. Onset of puberty at eight years of age in girls determines a specific tempo of puberty but does not affect adult height. Acta Paediatr. 2004;93:874–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Martí-Henneberg C, Vizmanos B. The duration of puberty in girls is related to the timing of its onset. J Pediatr. 1997;131:618–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McDowell MA, Fryar ChD, Hirsch R, Ogden CL. Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: US population, 1999–2002. Advance data from vital and health statistics, no. 361. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2005.Google Scholar
  25. Pantsiotou K. Data on pubertal development in Greek boys. A longitudinal study. Hormones. 2007;6:148–51.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Sobradillo B, Aguirre A, Aresti U, Bilbao A, Fernández-Ramos C, Lizárraga A, Lorenzo H, Madariaga L, Rica I, Ruiz I, Sánchez E, Santamaría C, Serrano JM, Zabala A, Zurimendi B, Hernández M. Curvas y Tablas de Crecimiento. Estudios longitudinal y transversal. Bilbao: Fundación Faustino Orbegozo; 2004.Google Scholar
  27. Tanaka T, Suwa S, Yokoya S, Hibi I. Analysis of linear growth during puberty. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1988;347(Suppl):25–9.Google Scholar
  28. Tanner JM, Davies PSW. Clinical longitudinal standards for height, weight, height velocity and the stages of puberty. J Pediatr. 1985;107:317–329.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tanner JM, Whitehouse W. Clinical longitudinal standards for height and height velocity for North American children. Arch Dis Child. 1976;51:170–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vizmanos B, Martí-Henneberg C, Clivillé R, Moreno A, Fernández-Ballart J. Age of pubertal onset affects the intensity and duration of pubertal growth peak but not final height. Am J Hum Biol. 2001;13:409–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Carrascosa
    • 1
  • Angel Ferrández
    • 2
    • 3
  • Laura Audí
    • 1
  • Elena Sánchez
    • 4
  1. 1.Pediatric Endocrinology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Institut de Rercerca Biomédica, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER) ISC IIIHospital Universitario Vall d’Hebron, Universidad Autónoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Endocrinology Unit, Department of PediatricsChildren’s Hospital Miguel ServetZaragozaSpain
  3. 3.Andrea Prader Growth and Development CenterZaragozaSpain
  4. 4.Endocrinology Unit, Department of PediatricsHospital Universitario de Basurto, Universidad del País Vasco, Fundación Faustino OrbegozoBilbaoSpain

Personalised recommendations