How Do Girls' Body & Fat Distribution Change in Puberty?

Learn how body shape and body fat distribution change in girls going through puberty from Jennifer Wider, M.D. in this Howcast video.

If you’re going through puberty, you may notice that the girls in your class are a little bit taller than the guys, and that’s because the growth spurt that you experience during puberty happens for girls a little bit earlier than the boys. Growth spurts for girls start usually between the ages of nine and 13. Of course they may start earlier and later, but on average you’ll notice that you sprout up a few inches. You’ll also notice your body develops a bit more curves than normal. Your hips start to widen, you develop your breasts, and your fat is being redistributed, and what that means is the fat that was around your tummy, not that you have a lot of fat, but if you do, the fat that was around your tummy as a little girl starts to move to your hips and to your breasts, and your body becomes a little bit more what it will look like when you are an adult woman. All of this is normal. You may even notice some stretch marks in your skin, and that’s where your skin is growing so quickly there are stretch marks, and they’re going to fade over time. They look like white marks that sort of fade, and you won’t even notice them when you get older, and you may not even notice that you have them now.

What I want to mention is that a lot of girls feel a little bit uncomfortable with these changes. Because your body is changing so rapidly, you have hormones going through, you have mood swings, and you notice that your body is changing shape very quickly, and you start to feel uncomfortable. One of the reasons we have so much pressure on ourselves is the media images that you see in TV and magazines that are dictating the way you should look, and oftentimes we find that skinny equals popular, it equals attractive, and it equals successful. I’m here to let you know you should throw all that out the window. Women come in all shapes and sizes, we all develop differently, and you are an individual, and you are beautiful just the way you are. So hang in there, all of these changes are going to occur, and they’re normal, and there’s a wide range of what’s normal for each person.