Childhood Obesity in Girls Can Lead to Early Onset of Puberty

Girls who are obese at the age of four are significantly more likely to hit puberty before their 10th birthday, according to research which predicts that puberty will come earlier in the UK as the child obesity crisis worsens...

"We have to understand that we're catching up with the States - there's a very small window in which we can do something about this," said David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum. "This is further proof that obesity disrupts hormones through people's lives, right through from early childhood to menopause."

Joyce Lee, assistant professor in paediatric endocrinology at the University of Michigan, and lead researcher on the study, said: "This is a crucial study because it is the first longitudinal study to follow girls from 36 months to the age of 12. We witnessed early onset puberty at nine among those who were obese by the age of four. Before it's not been clear whether girls are obese because they are hitting puberty earlier or hitting puberty early because they are obese...

The study says: "Earlier onset of puberty in girls has been associated with a number of adverse outcomes, including psychiatric disorders and deficits in psychosocial functioning, earlier initiation of alcohol use, sexual intercourse and teenage pregnancy and increased rates of adult obesity and reproductive cancers." ...

The Department of Health's own research suggests that a fifth of all children under 15 will be clinically obese by 2010, matching American levels of obesity in 2000. The proportion of clinically obese children in English secondary schools doubled in a decade.

Source: Guardian Unlimited
http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2026734,00.html
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This entry was posted in Child Discipline, Child Health, Parenting & Education.

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