Adolescence: the period of dramatic bone growth

Endocrine. 2002 Feb;17(1):43-8. doi: 10.1385/ENDO:17:1:43.


Adolescence is a period of rapid skeletal growth during which nearly half of the adult skeletal mass is accrued. This life stage is a window of opportunity for influencing peak bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Endocrine factors that may influence peak bone mass include insulin-like growth factor-1, which regulates skeletal growth, and gonadotropic hormones, which stimulate epiphyseal maturation. Estrogen deficiency and amenorrhea can reduce skeletal mass. Weight-bearing exercise can increase bone mass. Appropriate mineralization of the skeleton requires adequate dietary intakes of minerals involved in the formation of hydroxyapatite; the most likely to be deficient is calcium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent / physiology*
  • Aging
  • Amenorrhea
  • Bone Development*
  • Calcification, Physiologic
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Diet
  • Durapatite
  • Epiphyses / growth & development
  • Estrogens / deficiency
  • Estrogens / physiology
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / physiology
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Phosphorus, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Estrogens
  • Phosphorus, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Durapatite