May 20, 2018

Adolescence now lasts from 10 to 24

22 January 2018, 02:04 | Darrell Baldwin

Scientists suggest puberty age be jacked up to 24

Female students of GSS Jikwoyi Abuja

In a new study, a group of scientists argue that the end of adolescence should be pushed from age 19 to 24. According to the Office of National Statistics (UK) in 2013 the average age for a man to enter first marriage was 32.5 in 2013 and the average age for women 30.6 years across England and Wales.

Also underpinning the theory are biological reasons.

That used to happen around age 14, but thanks to good health and nutrition has started to happen as early as 10. For instance, the brain doesn't stop its development at the age of 19.

They argue that the brain is still maturing well beyond the age of 20 and wisdom teeth typically only come through around 25. This is nearly an eight-year increase since 1973.

Compared to earlier generations, youth today are staying in school longer, marrying and having kids later, and buying a house later, writes Susan Sawyer, the chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne, in an op-ed published today in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

She said delayed partnering, parenting and economic independence means semi-dependency related to adolescene has expanded.

She said: "Age definitions are always arbitrary".

Adolescence is a period of enormous change and growth-and young people are taking so much longer to mature that a team of doctors are now suggesting it be officially extended to age 24. Still, other laws are all over the place - people get their driver's license at 16, but can't rent a auto until age 25.

BBC reports there's currently a movement of social scientists who are pushing to extend our framework for adolescence as a society so that you're technically still considered an adolescent until you're 24 years old, whereas our past understanding was that the milestone for adulthood fell somewhere between the ages of 18 and 21 - aka, far too soon for many of us actually living those years right now. However, sociologist Jan Macvarish warns we could end up infantilizing young people.

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