Obesity linked to early puberty in girls: Study

(Kletr/Fotolia)

(Kletr/Fotolia)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:56 PM ET

Young girls are starting puberty earlier because of higher rates of childhood obesity, a new study has found.

Researchers in San Francisco, Cincinnati and New York City looked at the ages 1,239 girls started to develop breasts and also recorded the girls' body mass index and race or ethnicity.

While the researchers were able to determine median ages for breast development for white, black, Hispanic and Asian girls, they found body mass index was a stronger predictor of earlier puberty.

In particular, they found white, non-Hispanic girls are starting puberty earlier than previously thought, likely because of higher rates of obesity.

"The current study suggests clinicians may need to redefine the ages for both early and late maturation in girls," Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center researcher Frank Biro said in a press release.

The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

 


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