The study of immunology is essential within Biology Topics to understand the immune system.
How is Adolescence Defined?
In the previous Chapter we have learnt the human male and female reproductive systems. We have also learnt how human beings reproduce by giving birth to babies. Babies grow and become children.
Children grow further and become adolescents. And finally, adolescents grow and become adults. It is only after growing up to a certain age’ that humans are able to reproduce. The human beings can reproduce (by giving birth to babies) only after a ‘certain age’ because their reproductive systems start working only after a ‘certain age’. In this Chapter we will learn about the changes which take place in a human ‘male body’ and a ‘female body’ after which a person becomes capable of reproduction.
In other words, we will learn about the changes which take place in a boy’s body and in a girl’s body after which they become capable of reproduction. We will also discuss the role played by hormones in initiating the working of a male (boy’s) and a female (girl’s) reproductive systems, and make them fit for the process of reproduction. So, it is the hormones which bring about changes that make a child grow into an adult.
Growing up is a natural process. Growth begins from the day a baby is born. A baby grows and becomes a child. A young human being below the age of full physical development is called a child. When a child crosses the age of 10 years or 11 years, there is a sudden spurt in his (or her) body growth which becomes noticeable. The rapid changes which take place in the body from this age onwards are the part of ‘growing up’. These changes indicate that the person is no longer a child but he (or she) is on the way to becoming an adult. A mature human being who is fully grown and developed is called an adult.
There is a period of life in human beings when a person is neither a child nor an adult. The transitional period of physical and mental development which occurs between childhood and adulthood is called adolescence. In most simple words, the period of life between childhood and adulthood is called adolescence. Adolescence is the time when a lot of changes take place in the bodies of boys and girls which make their reproductive systems ‘mature’.
We can now write another definition of adolescence as follows: The period of life of a person when the body undergoes a lot of changes leading to reproductive maturity, is called adolescence. Some of the changes which take place in boys during adolescence are : Facial and body hair grow; voice deepens ; and testes start to make sperms. And some of the changes which take place in girls during adolescence are : Breasts grow; ovaries start to release eggs (or ova) ; and menstruation (monthly periods) begin.
Adolescence usually begins around the age of 10 or 11 years and lasts upto 18 or 19 years. The period of adolescence, however, varies from person to person. In girls, adolescence may begin a year or two earlier than in boys. A person who is in the process of growing from a child to an adult is called an adolescent.
An adolescent can be a boy or a girl. Between the ages of 10 or 11 years and 18 or 19 years, the rapidly growing children are called adolescents. Since the period of adolescence covers the ‘teen’ years (thirteen to nineteen years), therefore, adolescents are also called ‘teenagers’. The human body undergoes many changes during adolescence. These changes mark the onset of puberty. Puberty is the period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction. From this discussion we conclude that:
- Adolescence is the time between childhood and adulthood.
- Puberty is the time when adolescents become sexually mature.