Puberty and Growth - Bone growth
As the growth spurt subsides in the late teens, the cartilage plates , or epiphyses , in the long bones of the body close. Until the growth plates become filled in with calcium deposits, each long bone is in effect three bones—a central shaft separated from the ends by the cartilage growth plates. The growth plates are not completely replaced by bone until a female is about 20 and a male 23 years old. But the rate of growth begins to taper off as sexual maturity is achieved. After that, young women tend to retain fatty tissue and young men gain in muscle mass. Although obesity has been recently linked to genetic mutation, young people can still be diligent in monitoring the quality and amount of food eaten. Proper nutrients and a sensible intake will provide the best fuel for healthy bone growth.