How can the human body change size, how does the process of growth occur?

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How can the human body change size, how does the process of growth occur?

In: Biology

Children, and young adults, grow because they have a chemical signaller in their body, a hormone, that tells the body to grow. This hormone circulates around the body and attaches onto specific cells that help to co-ordinate growth for a particular set of tissues. These cells in turn may signal other tissues to make sure that growth is controlled at the same time. There are certain types of cells, stem cells, that can turn into lots of different types of cells. These are involved in making the new cells that we need for growing body tissues.

Young children have small gaps at either end of their bones filled with cartilage instead of bone. These are the epiphyseal plates (growth plates).

Throughout childhood, new bone is added in this area, making the bones longer.

During adolescence, the growth plates start to close up as the remaining cartilage is replaced by bone. When the growth plate is completely closed and no cartilage remains, then no further growth is possible.