Girls who are overweight at the age of 3 are likely to reach puberty very early, even around the age of 9, suggests a study in the United States. The results of the study published in the journal "Pediatrics" suggest that people who reach puberty before age 10 start drinking alcohol and have sex earlier. Also, the risk of cancer, during life, is higher than the rest of the people.
The average and generally accepted age for a girl to have manifestations of puberty is 10 years or more. The researchers who did the study found, however, that girls who were under the age of 3-4, were overweight, reached puberty at the age of 9 years. Of the 354 girls who were followed from the age of 3 to 12, almost half, 168, had manifestations that appear at puberty at the age of 9, for example breast development. Many of these girls had a fairly high body mass index in childhood.
This study by the University of Michigan strengthens the results of research conducted in 2000 by the University of Bristol that one in 6 girls reaches puberty before age 8 - 18 months earlier than their mothers. A theory on this problem claims that puberty is triggered by a hormone called leptin that is produced by adipose tissue, which determines the time changes in the life of the girl.
March 5, 2007