A new study conducted found that teenagers that enter puberty later in their life tend to have weaker bones.

This is according to research conducted on 6,000 British children. In the study, researchers discovered that the kids who experienced late growth spurts had a below-average bone density in adulthood.

“These later maturing teens did catch up to some degree with early maturing teens in terms of bone strength, but they continued to have lower bone strength after they finished growing and became adults, so they may also be at increased risk for osteoporosis in later life.” said the head researcher, Ahmed Elhakeem, an epidemiologist in the UK.

The research focused on 6000+ babies born between 1991 – 1992 in southwest England. Bone density was measured by all of the subjects at ages 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 25.

In order to find out if the growth spurt was related to bone density, the researchers to a look at bone density measurements while taking into account several factors, including the subjects weight, socioeconomic status, body mass index (BMI) and early life diet.

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The study found the females had their growth spurts earlier, at an average of 11.5 years old, while males had their spurt at an average age of 13.5. Boys gained bone mineral density at faster rates than girls.

Research also uncovered that the greatest gains in bone density occurred between a year prior to the spurt and two years afterwards.

Among both males and females, there were quicker gains in bone mineral density when the growth spurt came late. Even with this, the kids who spurted late never caught up with those who spurted early.

Adults that developed a late growth spurt are encouraged to follow recommendations from the Royal Osteoporosis Society, which provides advice on how to strengthen bones, including living a healthy lifestyle and getting a lot of exercises.