Childhood Obesity May Cause Earlier Puberty. Should We Be Worried?

A new study provesa connection exists between early puberty in girls and obesity. As ifwe needed another reason to be concerned about the childhood obesityepidemic.

The results of the study aren’t entirely surprising, as it has beenshown that obesity can alter the levels of reproductive hormones. This,in turn, can cause puberty to start sooner. The most recent studylooked specifically at breast development as the marker of puberty,and studied girls ages 6-8 over the course of seven years.

Researchers with the study found that girls who had a higher Body MassIndex (BMI) may start developing sooner than their thinner peers. Insome cases it was up to a full year sooner, than and as early assecond grade. It was also found that black girls in particular arematuring sooner. The number of first-grade girls with developingbreasts has tripled in the last 15 years.

While a high BMI cannot be pinpointed as the only cause of earlierpuberty, environmental factors may play a part as well, it iscertainly one of the most disturbing. Girls have been reaching pubertyat younger ages for some time, which has led to creation of productslike child-sized sanitary pads and deodorants aimed at children stillin elementary school.

Girls who mature sooner than their peers due to factors like BMI facemany health risks as they age. Early puberty has been linked to avariety of health concerns and chronic health problems like diabetesand heart disease. These are also health problems that obese individuals face. Mental health issues may develop like problemswith self-esteem and depression.

Though only breast development was researched in this study, thepeople behind it hope to look at other markers of puberty in relationto BMI soon. Until they do, it will be hard to say conclusively thatBMI is a direct influence on the onset of puberty. However, parentsmay want to keep a watchful eye on their young children and be on thelookout for signs of obesity and early puberty.

With the scary thought of multiple health concerns floating around intheir heads, it may be easy for parents to want to buckle down ontheir child’s weight. However, it’s important not to be too adamantabout having kids lose weight. Too much emphasis on weight loss at ayoung age could spur disordered eating. Instead, focus on eating foodsthat are nutritious and make sure kids spend some part of each daybeing active.

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60 comments

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

Well this is very unpleasant news...like many are saying on here---GMO"s may be very much one of the guilty culprits among other reasons including terrible lifestyle choices. Thank you

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Amanda S.
Amanda S4 years ago

I was a chubby kid from a fat family and I didn't hit puberty til I was almost 16, so I reject this notion.

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Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W4 years ago

I really don't think this is the major reason. I worked for many families when I was the cleaning lady. I worked for one family where the 8-yr.old girl was shaving her legs!! At Eight???
The following year she came into her first mense.

Now she was a skinny kid. But - I could never get over all the pre-Packaged food in the house. Nothing fresh at all, not with her two working parents in the 1980's. Everything was microwave-ready. So while obesity may be playing some role, I think it's far more likely the problems lie within our environment.

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Emma Rose
Emma Rose4 years ago

Childhood Obesity May Cause Earlier Puberty. Should We Be Worried?

well if a child reach puberty at early age...it means she can get pregnant at early age....her body is not mature mentally or physically....life span will be shorter....you have to monitor what kind of food you feed your child.

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Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago

Very scary and worrisome.

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Dmitry Nikiforov
Dmitry Nikiforov4 years ago

Thank you

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Donna Ferguson
Donna F4 years ago

ty

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Anne Moran
Anne M4 years ago

Looking at today's kids,, yeah, we should be worried... Don't bring any crap in the house and they won't get sooo heavy, and will live a happier and healthier life...

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Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago

ty

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Catherine Smith
Catherine Heckel4 years ago

My father in law, who is a retired OB/GYN, and I were just talking about the subject this morning. He readily agrees with the theory of obesity and early puberty. I sent him this article. Thanks for putting it out there.

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