Early Puberty for Girls is Raising Health Concerns
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2010 Aug 09
American girls are hitting puberty earlier than ever — a change that puts them at higher risk for behavioral problems as adolescents and breast cancer as adults, a new study shows.
About 15% of 1,239 girls studied showed the beginnings of breast development at age 7, according to an article in today's Pediatrics. One in 10 white girls, twice as many as in a 1997 study, showed breast growth by that age, as did 23% of black girls and 15% of Hispanic girls.
The median age of breast development fell from 10.9 years in 1991 to 9.9 in 2006, according to a Danish study published in Pediatrics last year.
The new study doesn't explain why girls are developing earlier, but it did find heavier girls with a higher body-mass index were more likely than others to begin puberty early, says pediatrician Frank Biro, director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
A growing number of researchers also are concerned about hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment.
Source: USA Today