Medicine

Scientists now think adolescence lasts until you're 24

Scientists now think adolescence lasts until you're 24

A teenager's lifespan has been extended to between ten to 24 years old, from the previous 14 to 19, scientists say.

Young people continuing their education for longer, as well as delayed marriage and parenthood, has redefined common perceptions of when adulthood starts, the BBC reported. Research by doctors from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Melbourne calls for an expanded and more inclusive definition of adolescence, which is essential for the developmentally appropriate framing of laws, social policies and service systems.

Good news for young people exhausted of being told to grow up: A team of academics writing in the Lancet wants to expand the period in life we think of as adolescence by five years, CTV News reports.

Puberty is considered to set in when the hypothalamus starts releasing a hormone that triggers a body's pituitary and gonadal glands. In such countries, girls have their first period four years earlier than their peers had 150 years ago.

Other arguments for pushing back the years of adolescence are based on biological developments, such as the fact that the brain continues to mature past 20 years old and wisdom teeth come out until around 25 years old. Jan Macvarish, a parenting sociologist at the University of Kent, says broadening the age range could impact young adults.

More news: North and South Korea hold new round of talks centered on Olympics

They also highlight that these days people marry on average eight years later than they did in the 70s, with the average age for women marrying 30.6 and men 32.5. In Britain, people are getting married almost eight years later than they were in 1973.

In the United Kingdom, the law defines adulthood as beginning at 18, however, adult responsibilities and true economic independence tend to occur later for most people.

She said: "Age definitions are always arbitrary".

The traditional definition for adolescence is now between and the ages of 10 and 19, which marked the beginnings of puberty and the perceived end of biological growth.


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