The process of bone development in children


Our bodies are architectural marvels, built upon the strong yet unsung foundation of 206 bones. These skeletal sentinels, oft overlooked, play a vital role – providing structural integrity, protecting organs, enabling growth and graceful stature. Bones come in diverse shapes meticulously designed for their functions – long, short, flat, irregular – yet share a brilliant blueprint of membrane, sturdy outer layer, spongy resilience, life-giving marrow, and nourishing vessels. Join us as we unveil the secrets of these 206 silent heroes that define our remarkable physical existence.

The stages of bone development

In a human lifespan, the skeletal framework goes through five stages: formation stage, growth stage, equilibrium stage, bone loss stage, and aging stage. During each stage, bones undergo distinct changes.


Embryonic Skeletal Development Phases

The skeletal system forms through three distinct embryonic stages: membrane, cartilage, and bone. Initially a bone membrane arises in the first month, transforming into cartilage. By the second month, cartilage begins turning into bone as the nervous system’s foundations like the skull and spine take shape. Robust bone growth and calcium absorption occur in the pivotal 5th and 6th months. The 7th month sees cartilage formation again along with muscle and fat development. By birth, the relatively complete yet pliable skeletal structure is formed.

This summary captures the key phases of the remarkable transition from a simple membrane to the intricate cartilage and bone framework that will support the growing infant. The coordinated timeline highlights critical milestones when different skeletal components emerge and mature within the womb.


Growth stage

According to – After the formation stage, bones continue to grow until adulthood, which takes about 20 years to complete. During this stage, the cartilage at the end of bones continues to grow and ossify to become bone. It is not until the age of 25 that the human skeletal system fully develops.

The process of growth and ossification continues until all cartilage in the body is transformed into bone. When the size and weight of the bones reach their highest limit, it is called the peak bone mass. The higher the peak bone mass, the lower the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

The bone development stage is most robust during the adolescent period. Therefore, during this stage, it is essential to supplement with sufficient vitamins and minerals and engage in regular physical exercise to promote mineralization, increase bone density, enhance growth, and strengthen bone health.


Equilibrium stage

During this stage, bones remain stable and do not grow any further. The process of bone formation and resorption also does not occur. Typically, the equilibrium stage of the skeletal system lasts from 25 to 40 years old.

Maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep during the equilibrium stage can help ensure the development and strength of bones. This is considered the foundation for maintaining strong bones and delaying the aging process of bones.

Bone loss stage

As the body ages, around 35 years old, it undergoes psychological and physiological changes, which is considered a natural aging process. On average, bone mass decreases by around 0.1-0.5% per year.

In women, bone loss occurs most significantly during the perimenopausal and postmenopausal periods. At this time, the amount of estrogen hormone in the body decreases, weakening bones and joints. During this stage, women typically lose 1-3% of their bone mass. The bone loss process in men occurs slower than in women.


Aging stage

As time passes and our bodies age, our joints begin to display unmistakable signs of the passage of time. Concurrently, our skeletal framework also undergoes an aging process. During this phase, various symptoms manifest, such as muscle weakness, joint discomfort, and a gradual decline in bone density.

Bone ossification

The strength and development of our bones hinge on a crucial biological process known as bone ossification. This intricate mechanism serves as the cornerstone for the enlargement and elongation of our bones, thus playing a pivotal role in our overall growth and height development. The journey of bone ossification begins when our bones first form and continues until we reach our twenties.

What is bone ossification?

Bone ossification refers to the intricate process of transforming the connective tissue within our bones. More specifically, it entails the conversion of regular connective tissue into a dense, solid structure. This transformation is essential for fostering bone growth and elongation, setting the stage for the potential increase in height.

Quá trình cốt hóa giúp xương phát triển to và dài hơn.


There are two opposite phenomena that always occur simultaneously: bone destruction due to the destruction of bone cells and bone regeneration due to the regeneration of bone cells. The bone cell process occurs sequentially in two stages: the osteoblast stage and the osteoclast stage. Osteoblasts help build bones, while osteoclasts play a role in bone repair.

How does bone ossification occur?

Bone ossification occurs at both ends of the bone through the cell division process of growth cartilage. This connection point is called the bone ossification center. In long bones, the growth cartilage is usually located at the end of the bone. However, it is often fused with the bone shaft when reaching adulthood. In contrast, in short and flat bones, the growth cartilage is usually located outside the bone.


Under the influence of growth hormones and other factors, the process of bone ossification occurs continuously from birth until the age of 20. Puberty is the period during which bone ossification occurs most strongly. This is considered the “prosperous” period of bone development, and height improvement is also visibly noticeable. However, when the body crosses the age of 21, the growth plates begin to enter the fixed bone ossification phase, and changes in height also show signs of stopping.

Factors affecting bone development

The development of bones in general and the process of bone ossification, in particular, depend on various factors. Among them, nutrition, physical activity, lifestyle habits, etc. all have a direct impact on bone development. Therefore, if there is a plan to take care of the body and balance the reasonable factors, owning an ideal height is no longer a dream.

Genetic factors

Science has shown that bone development in each person is determined by genetic, nutritional, sports, and lifestyle factors. Among them, genetics is an irreplaceable factor. According to scientists, genetic factors account for about 23% of the impact on height in the body. It can be seen that most children from 1 year old to puberty grow an additional 5cm in height every year. During puberty, a child’s height can increase at a rate of 20cm per year.


Each individual will have a different rate of height development depending on their parents’ height. However, parents should not worry too much if they have modest height. Genetic factors only account for 1/4 of a child’s overall height development. Therefore, if parents know how to create a healthy living environment for their children, regularly engage in physical activity, and supplement with appropriate nutrition, they can still achieve their ideal height.


Nutrition is a key factor affecting bone development. Therefore, building a diet that contains all the necessary nutrients for the body is essential. It is not just about eating to satisfy hunger but also about consuming enough energy for daily activities and providing enough nutrients to promote bone development.

Supplementing with necessary nutrients: To ensure that bones always develop and stay strong, it is important to supplement with vitamins, especially vitamin D, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium in daily meals. Children in the growth stage who do not receive enough of these nutrients are at risk of developing rickets, malnutrition, and slow bone development. For adults, they may experience conditions such as soft bones, fractures, or osteoporosis.


Using functional foods for support: In addition, to provide enough nutrients for bones, you can also use functional foods for supplementation. However, it is important to choose the right and genuine products to avoid harming your body.

Avoid foods high in fat and carbonated drinks: According to top nutrition experts in the United States, using fast foods, foods high in fat, and carbonated drinks, stimulants will inhibit bone development. Among them, carbonated drinks contain a lot of phosphoric acid which affects the body’s ability to absorb calcium, leading to bone problems.

Physical activity

Physical activity has a significant impact on bone development. You can engage in physical activity through exercises such as swimming, jumping rope, sprinting, basketball, or simply going to the gym, doing yoga. When the body is active, the pituitary gland will continuously be stimulated to produce growth hormones, accelerating the process of bone regeneration. In addition, sweating is also continuously produced to help remove harmful substances from the body. Therefore, you should spend at least 30 to 45 minutes in the morning or evening to exercise and stretch your body.


Quality of sleep

Bone development usually occurs at night when the body is in a relaxed state. On the other hand, when the body falls asleep, the pituitary gland will start to function and produce growth hormones. This process usually occurs from 11 pm to 3 am. Therefore, you need to sleep before 10 pm and get enough sleep for 8-9 hours every day.

To ensure the quality of sleep, in addition to going to bed on time, create a comfortable and peaceful sleeping environment for yourself. A spacious bed, a room with little light, good ventilation, and soundproofing will help you sleep better. Developing the habit of not using technology devices 30 minutes before bed will also help you fall asleep easier.


Other factors

Lifestyle habits: Habits such as using stimulants, eating too much salt and starch, etc., are all factors that slow down the formation and development of bones. Therefore, limit the use of stimulants, replace salt in dishes with other seasonings, reduce starch intake or use whole grain bread, and brown rice in your diet.

Weak immune system: A weak immune system also has a significant impact on the formation and development of bones. A healthy person will have a taller and larger stature than others. Moreover, when your immune system is weak, you need to use a lot of antibiotics to boost your health. This makes it difficult for your bones to develop comprehensively.

Social environment: The social environment is also an objective factor that affects bones. Living in a place with full health services, clean food sources to use, and entertainment activities not only improves your mental state but also keeps your body ready to absorb and develop.

The process of bone formation and development goes through five stages associated with the ages of human life. It goes through the stages of formation, development, and balance during growth and then starts to show signs of degeneration and aging through bone loss and aging. There are many factors that affect the process of bone formation and development. However, whether the influence is positive or negative depends on your choices. Always pay attention to nutrition, lifestyle, sleep, and exercise to promote optimal bone development.