The Curious Case Of Malia Obama's Growth Spurt

There's a shocking report out of the White House today: Though she's only 13, Malia Obama is nearly as tall as her mother. The L.A. Times reports: "Estimates put her at 5-foot-9 or 5-foot-10, not that unusual for a child with tall parents, but definitely taller than most children her age."

You may find Malia's sudden height increase confusing and a bit frightening, but don't worry: The Times report includes a seven paragraph analysis of a mysterious phenomenon known as "puberty":

No doubt she experienced a growth spurt, a natural occurrence that happens in puberty. This is the time when the body grows the fastest, says Dr. Jamie Wood, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, following a fairly steady growth rate in childhood.

For girls, Wood adds, this growing stage happens about two years after girls start developing breasts (average age 10) and about two years after boys have an increase in the size of their testicles (average age 12).

So if you're a high-profile middle schooler, what's worse than inspiring a major newspaper to discuss secondary sex characteristics? That same paper noting that kids who experience growth spurts "can gain weight if they don't adjust their calories when their bodies stop growing," and pointing out that if you're the tallest girl in your class you might have experience romantic troubles ("It can be awkward in middle school years," Wood said, "but the boys will catch up"). Being First Daughter isn't all free limo rides and stealing Secret Service agents' sunglasses! (Like Michelle would allow that.)

Malia Obama Almost As Tall As Parents: What Triggers Growth Spurt? [LAT]