An analysis of the mid-growth and adolescent spurts of height based on acceleration

Ann Hum Biol. Mar-Apr 1985;12(2):129-48. doi: 10.1080/03014468500007631.


Height growth between four weeks and 20 years of 45 boys and 45 girls from the Zürich Longitudinal Growth Study (1955-1976) was analysed using kernel estimates. Timings of the mid-growth spurt (MS) and of the pubertal spurt (PS) were determined in an automatic way from the individual acceleration curves, together with height, percentage of height, velocity and acceleration at these ages. The small mid-growth spurt is a consistent phenomenon, peaking at 6.4 years (M,F) in acceleration and at 7.7 years (M) and 7.5 years (F) in velocity. There are no significant sex differences in its intensity. In girls, the PS follows in close succession to the MS; in boys there is a substantial period in between. In addition to the age of peak height velocity, ages of onset, maximal acceleration and end of the PS are defined. Sex differences in timing and size of the pubertal peak previously established were again verified. New results relate to the asymmetry of the PS, which is more pronounced in girls, and to sex differences in intensity and duration of the first rising phase of the PS. After this phase, boys and girls do not differ in timing but only in the intensity of deceleration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Height
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Sex Factors