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The relation of menarcheal age to obesity in childhood and adulthood: the Bogalusa heart study

David S Freedman*, Laura Kettel Khan, Mary K Serdula, William H Dietz, Sathanur R Srinivasan and Gerald S Berenson

BMC Pediatrics 2003, 3:3  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-3-3

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" might possibly influence maturation..."

James Howard   (2004-04-16 18:02)  independent biologist email

"might possibly influence maturation"

Ann Epidemiol. 2004 Mar;14(3):179-87.

Characteristics of pubertal development in a multi-ethnic population of nine-year-old girls.

Britton JA, Wolff MS, Lapinski R, Forman J, Hochman S, Kabat GC, Godbold J, Larson S, Berkowitz GS.

Division of Environmental Health Science, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

PURPOSE: Early age at menarche increases future disease risk. Secular decline in age at menarche has been attributed to body size characteristics, diet, and energy expenditure. Risk factors for puberty have been less frequently explored. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 186 New York Metropolitan Area, 9-year-old girls (54 African-American, 70 Hispanic, 62 Caucasians) used interviewer-administered questionnaires to assess exposures. Height and weight were measured. Pediatricians assessed pubertal development according to Tanner stages. RESULTS: African-Americans were more likely than Caucasians to have achieved puberty as determined by breast or hair development (stage 2 or higher) [age-adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals = 4.91 (2.15-11.19) and 4.25 (1.85-9.77), respectively]. Pubertal development was similar among Hispanics and Caucasians. Adiposity and height were significantly positively associated with breast or hair development. More sedentary activity hours non-significantly increased the likelihood of hair development. Lower energy, but higher polyunsaturated fat, consumption were suggestive of an association with breast development. Vitamin C and hair development were inversely related. No other nutrients or physical activity measures were related to pubertal development. CONCLUSIONS: Results are consistent with height and adiposity being associated with pubertal development. Sedentary activity or diet might possibly influence maturation.

Competing interests

None declared


diet and menarche

David Freedman   (2003-05-19 13:00)  CDC email

Dietary information was available for very few of the women in our study, and we were not able to examine this. Several studies have examined this association, but I'm not sure if meat vs vegetarian diets have been specifically examined.

I think the most consistent finding has been that high energy intake is associated with an earlier menarche.

Some references are

Koo MM, Rohan TE, Jain M, McLaughlin JR, Corey PN. A cohort study of dietary fibre intake and menarche. Public Health Nutr. 2002 Apr;5(2):353-60.

Koprowski C, Ross RK, Mack WJ, Henderson BE, Bernstein L. Diet, body size and menarche in a multiethnic cohort. Br J Cancer. 1999 Apr;79(11-12):1907-11.

Meyer F, Moisan J, Marcoux D, Bouchard C. Dietary and physical determinants of menarche. Epidemiology. 1990 Sep;1(5):377-81.

Competing interests

None declared


What are the diet factors in early obesity/menarchy

David Weisbach   (2003-05-13 17:40)  Lightrays Photography email

Did this study include any data on the diets of these women? I have heard there is a link between the growth hormones fed to our animals and the onset of early menarchy in women. Has this been studied? For example how much meat did these women eat. Is it possible to compare those who ate meat to vegitarians to discover if there is any difference between the two groups as far as weigt and early menarchy?

thank you for considering these questions. If you have any refernces to studies in this area of dieat, meat consumption and early menarchy/obesity I would appreciate referances.


Competing interests

I am a vegitarian and research theses things as a layman.


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