For Chinese, there’s one phrase that is commonly used to greet young children – especially during a child’s birthday or the Chinese New Year.
The phrase is “kuai gao zhang da.”
It is translated as grow tall and big fast.
Parents always wish children could grow taller and bigger on the fly. The faster they mature the better.
Well… wish no more. Your wish is fulfilled.
Based on some studies, children hit puberty at a younger age than they did a few decades ago. It’s determined by puberty onset.
For boys: the first signs of genital and pubic hair growth and testicular enlargement.
For girls: breast development and the first menstruation.
In a recent study, boys begin maturing as early as 9 years old. In the 70’s, children only matured at 12.
Is it a good sign?
Because entering puberty earlier means aging earlier.
But what causes children mature earlier than their peers in the past?
It’s got to do with the diet. Consuming greater amount of meat (with growth hormones and all), processed foods, cheese, and fat lead to earlier puberty.
Not only do they mature earlier with bigger size, children are diagnosed with all kinds of diseases (such as diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer, etc) that used to attack adults only.
When it comes to healthy growth, speed kills.
Growing tall and big fast is not what we want after all. Instead, we want children to grow naturally and slowly – not to rush but at its own pace.
Next time when a friend comments that your child has really grown up, it might not be a good thing after all.
P.S. For diet that puts puberty on its natural course, check out “The Nonconformist’s Guide to Parenting.”
I dedicated a whole chapter on healthy diet in the book.
You can find more about it here: