The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated the average height of American teenagers via physical examinations 5 times since the 1960s. CDC estimates that the average teenage girl in 2002 -- the year of the most recent physical exams -- is about 0.3 inches taller than she was in the 1960s.
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Girls grow at an earlier age than boys do. For the first 11.5 years of their lives, girls and boys are nearly the same height at every age. Girls then become taller than boys and remain taller until they are approximately 14, according to "Understanding Psychology." This text reports the "average female" has her most rapid physical and sexual development between 11 and 14. While she is having her biggest height spurt, she is also developing breasts, growing pubic hair and experiencing menstruation for the first time.
The average 13-year-old girl was 62.6 inches or almost 5 feet 3 inches in 2002, according to the CDC's "Mean Body Weight, Height, and Body Mass Index" report. The average 14-year-old girl was 63.7 inches or almost 5 feet 4 inches. Afterward, girls grew an average half inch during the next 5 years, mostly between the ages of 16 and 17 when they grew from 63.8 to 64.2 inches. The average 17-, 18- and 19-year-old girl was 64.2 inches, or just over 5 feet 4 inches.
CDC estimated the average height of girls at every age from 2 to 19, but its only multiage-group estimates are the average height changes among 6- to 11-year-olds and 12- to 17-year-olds. CDC reported that 12- to 17-year-old girls' average height growth of 0.3 inches from the late 1960s through the early 2000s, was "not statistically significant." However, their average weight increased from 118 to 130 lbs -- although you should be only 2 to 5 lbs heavier if you're 1 inch taller, according to weight-for-height tables.
Girls who reach their adult height at an early age may have an advantage in junior high and early high school, partly because their growth is associated with other aspects of their physical development, according to "Understanding Psychology." These "early-maturing girls" often have better self-esteem than their late-maturing classmates because they may be viewed as more attractive.
Girls who mature in height and other aspects of their physical development later than most of their classmates are more satisfied with their bodies during their later high school and college years, according to "Understanding Psychology."
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Mean Body Weight, Height, and Body Mass Index
- Understanding Psychology; Robert S. Feldman
- Essentials for Health and Wellness; Gordon Edlin, Eric Golanty and Kelli McCormack Brown
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: BMI Percentile Calculator for Child and Teen
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Measuring Children's Height and Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About BMI for Children and Teens