A new study suggests that obesity is a major factor in shifting the minimum age of puberty for girls in the US.
The study observed over 1,200 girls in San Francisco, Cincinnati, and New York City and examined them several times within the time period of 2004 and 2011. The researchers defined puberty as the age when the breasts started to grow.
The results showed a link between a girl’s body mass index or BMI and the age that the girl reaches puberty.
According to the results, Caucasian girls, on average, entered puberty at 9.7 years old. This is a quarter year younger than reported in a 1997 study and even a lot younger from findings that date back from the ‘60s. Black girls had the same puberty age of 8.8 years old while Hispanic girls averaged 9.3 years old and Asian girls at 9.7.
The researchers indicated that there are other factors such as sedentary lifestyle and less consumption of vegetables and fruits that come into play when it comes to puberty. Obesity, however, shows a strong link to this occurrence.