Teenagers Physically Maturing Faster Now?

I know it is not my imagination.

At schools I have taught in, and in cases of meeting kids from co-workers, I have noticed that the boys (15-17) are far taller than what I remember growing up with in school. Plus, when I went to high school there were probably only 2 guys who probably really needed to shave by the time they were seniors. It seems fairly common now to meet a 16 year old boy who is 6’2" or taller, and has a goatee!

Also, girls (13-15) seem to be getting taller, and - um - maturing to levels I recall first seeing in later years in high school. At one school our director mistakenly thought a couple of new 14 year old girls were counselors or teachers at the school!

Is it something in the water or are kids growing larger and maturing faster now? Seriously!

Hormones in beef is what I’ve always seen touted as the reason for the earlier maturation in kids nowadays. Whatever the cause, you’re definitely not just imagining it.

Better nutrition, improved health care and quality of life all combine to cause some of the changes you are noticing.

I had a university lecturer who was studying the heights of people in India and trying to correlate height with periods of famine/hardship.

Well… one idea is the hormones they put in foods now. Supposedly, these hormones make children mature faster, esp the hormones in meat/dairy.

From WHO website (pdf file)

So one could hypothesise that the opposite is happening in first world countries where increased access to foods such as iron rich meat products is causing the accelerated rate of development.

That might be a better explanation than “hormones” for non-cow eating veggie kids being runts.

Cow. So meaty, so tasty, why would you not want to eat it? Damn, just writing this is making my mouth water. I’m gonna get me some cow right now!

I have opened a thread about first world countries retaining dominance due to better nutrition - inspired by some questions raised from researching for this thread.

I don’t really buy this because I don’t think the amout of nutrition and health care has improved so drastically since the 1950’s, for example. That and the animal growth hormones are the most common reasons given, but it’s tough to find a cite for the latter that’s not unbiased.

I have heard that it is because the kids now are fat and lazy, they are eating way too much (food much more available, fast foods, kids are on their own for meals since both parents work, ect.) and their activity is non-existant as they have remote controls, get driven to school, have electric scotters, even get push around in strollers much more then in the past. The body has to do something w/ all that fuel.

Cecil makes passing reference to the issue here:

Just how significant are the growth hormones in meat when eaten by humans? Does it really pass through cooked flesh effeciently enough to effect the eater?

Don’t some people pay upwards of several thousand dollars a month for growth hormone treatment? Seems like a few steaks is a good deal, moneywise if thats the case.

Average age at menarche in various cultures

I’d like to see even one credible reference that hormones in meat or milk may be responsible for earlier maturation. Oh, and anything referencing work done by Samuel Epstein is *not * credible.

There are some interesting studies on the effects of materials which mimic hormones, resulting in earlier sexual maturation and decreased fertility.



I would wonder about boys. What do you consider onset? For instance my brother had a lengthy change of voice. Over two years. Between the 7th and 8th grade (the summer) my voice changed and I shot up to 6 feet. By the time I was 15 I was shaving once every other day. But that was it. I still need to shave only once every other day.

So how do you determain it in boys.