The phrase physical development and growth refers to a wide range of processes, such as brain development and sexual maturation, among others. This entry focuses upon the narrower concepts of physiological, skeletal growth, and movement development.

Within the general population, there are obvious variations in physical growth patterns, and these can be seen in differences in height, weight, the relative length of limbs and other body parts, cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, and a number of other variables. There are also evident differences in people’s abilities to move and perform physical skills and tasks. These differences provide valuable insights into human maturation, lifetime development, and health as well as the incidence of illness and developmental delay.

Stages of Physical Growth

Although the general pattern of physical growth is similar ...

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