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Puberty is a period of several years in which rapid physical growth and psychological changes occur, culminating in sexual maturity.

The average age of onset of puberty is at 11 for girls and 12 for boys.

In studying adolescent development, adolescence can be defined biologically, as the physical transition marked by the onset of puberty and the termination of physical growth; cognitively, as changes in the ability to think abstractly and multi-dimensionally; or socially, as a period of preparation for adult roles.

Major pubertal and biological changes include changes to the sex organs, height, weight, and muscle mass, as well as major changes in brain structure and organization.

In addition to changes in height, adolescents also experience a significant increase in weight (Marshall, 1978).