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Learning and Development I

Esther Asensio Castillo


Group 71; A

PHYSICAL GROWTH
Laura E. Berk
The course of physical growth
The principal idea is the changes in our organism. It is followed like a pattern
which is: a lot and big changes during the infancy, then these changes are
reduced till the puberty arrival, when the changes start to be really
noticeable. We all know it is true, as we have gone through all those states.
It is also true that the changes we suffer during the early childhood arent
comparable to the ones we pass through the adolescence. I am talking
about how we see all these changes and how we accept them and start
living with them. During the puberty, the sex differences in our body appear,
more rapidly for the girls, then the boys, and those changes are really
difficult to accept and also to be accepted for the people surrounding us.
In the text it is also said that during the early childhood, the center of
gravity is driven to the trunk, it helps the children to gain new grossmotor
skills. And thats why during the school years the children are learning to do
a lot of new things, they are progressing really fast as they gain agility,
flexibility, strength, and more abilities to run, jump and thats also the
reason for increasing body size, which will continue developing the motor
gains in adolescence. It is an idea I didnt have thought about never, in my
opinion, it is really interesting.
Hormonal influences in physical growth: two important hormones growth
hormone (GH) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which are released
by the pituitary gland, placed in the base of the brain. Those hormones
affects the development of the general body and the brain development,
while the estrogens and androgens are the responsible of the sexual
maturation.

Brain development
I have get surprised knowing about that point: The human brain reaches its
adult size earlier than any other organ. I didnt know about it and I think it
is really amazing, as it is explained, once neurons are in their place and
create their special bounds (synapses) their action is already done. This idea
has surprised me because the brain is a very important part of our motor,
and it is very rare that stop growing earlier than the other organs.
It has been studied that during childhood and adolescence, important
connections pass among parts of the brain. Those new links help the motor
coordination movements and cognitive activities, improving the memory
and spatial orientation and processing emotional information. Thanks of all
those connections that create all those new skills, our changes are easily to
be developed.
Another idea that has liked me is the fact that during the adolescence the
neurons become more responsive to excitatory neurotransmitters and thats

Learning and Development I

Esther Asensio Castillo


Group 71; A

why teenagers look for new experiences. In the text, it is related with the
idea that some studies have found about the existence of some periods in
which specific stimulation is necessary for a good brain development.

Factors affecting physical growth


It is a good question to consider, which are the main factors that affect the
physical growth? I am going to take some notes:

Adequate diet and health. Although genetic also affects weight,


nutrition and eating habits.
Breast milk is ideal for around age 2.
Family mealtimes are very important for the education in the eating
habits. (It is important to take into account that in industrialized and
developed countries the children are also influenced by the food
insecurity, so it is important to educate them).
Problems in industrialized countries: obesity (although heredity
contributes), bulimia, anorexia.

Puberty: The Physical Transition to Adulthood


As it is said in the text, the changes in sexual features accompany rapid
body growth. It is different the girls from the boys, in the first case, the
menarche (menstruation) occurs and the development is faster, while in
boys the changes occur later. It is really true, as all of us have listened
talking about girls seem older before than boys.
The Psychological Impact of Pubertal Events
It seems that having talked about the pubertal changes before they happen
is important for the youth. So the support of the family is also an important
point. It is said that girls received more support than boys, as they have the
menarche and it is needed some affect and a positive response for them.
Moreover, there are other events in the adolescence life that can condition
the youths mood; higher pubertal hormone levels, negative life events,
sleep loss

Puberty and Adolescent Health


In the text is explained that the eating disorders in adolescence are much
common in girls who reach the puberty early and who arent happy with
their body image. It is also important the values that have been stablished
in the family. But the personality of the person is also a determinant, as

Learning and Development I

Esther Asensio Castillo


Group 71; A

people with anorexia nervosa usually are perfectionists and have controlling
mothers and distant fathers.
So, during the adolescence a lot of changes happen and the changes can
create a lot of problems in the individuals. And as it has been told, it is very
important the role of the families and the environment of the children.