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Young Girls are Entering Puberty Earlier

by | August 12th, 2010

Young Girls are Entering Puberty Earlier

A recent study found age of puberty is declining for girls, with more girls developing breasts by age 7 than in years past. Ethnicity was also a factor in the study with girls of African-American ethnicity maturing before whites.

The authors could not give an average age of puberty at this time because many of the girls in the study have not yet developed breast. Further analysis is expected to provide this information.

In the study, researchers assessed the onset of puberty by a standard measurement of breast development.

They compared the findings to a 1997 study of age of puberty. They found that:

  • 10.4% of white girls in the current study had breast development, compared to 5% in the 1997 study.
  • 23.4% of African-American girls had beat development, compared to 15.4% in the 1997 study.

Besides ethnicity, body mass index or BMI was found to play a role in onset of puberty, The study found girls who had breast development at age 7 were more likely to have a higher BMI. Body fatness has been linked with onset of puberty in girls, by other researchers as well.

Among 6- to 11-year-olds, obesity has increased from 6.5% in 1976-1980 to 19.6% in 2007-2008, according to the CDC. The increase in obesity may play a major role in decreasing the age of onset of puberty.

Pediatricians as well as parents may need to talking to children earlier than they previously have thought necessary, discussing sex as well as substance abuse.

J. Kyle Mathews, MD

Plano OBGyn Associates

Tags: , , , , , , , | Category: Gynecology, News & Education |


Dr. J. Kyle Mathews is an expert in the field of Urogynecology, minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery, and reconstructive gynecologic surgery. Dr. Mathews is board certified and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the American College of Surgeons. With over two decades of experience, Dr. Mathews is one of the most experienced surgeons in north Texas.

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