Childhood Obesity May Cause Early Puberty

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Childhood Obesity May Cause Early Puberty

Childhood obesity affects nearly 12.5 million kids and families. Learn more about why children (girls in particular) with a higher body mass index (BMI) may be at risk for early puberty.

Today we face one of the most nerve-wracking epidemics in the nation: childhood obesity. According to the CDC, 12.5 million kids are obese. Although there are efforts being made by the government and schools to reduce these numbers, shocking studies have shown that younger girls are more affected by higher body mass indexes (BMI).

As young girls fall into a BMI higher than their recommended age, they are at risk for entering puberty at much earlier ages than ever recorded. Companies are taking advantage of this phenomenon and are marketing child-sized sanitary pads that are designed with hearts and stars, as cited by the Pediatrics Journal.

Pediatrics professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Frank Biro states that obese girls are definitely maturing earlier and can be attributed to a high BMI. What constitutes as a high BMI? It is a BMI in the 85th and 95th percentile. Studies show that girls as early as 8 years old are already developing breasts. Although other factors like race and diet habits also play a factor, there is still a trend for girls to begin puberty at an earlier age.

Early puberty for girls can pose problems, including a higher risk for depression, low self-esteem, and early sexual activity. Biro emphasizes that parents should try to help their kids, especially their daughters, to manage a healthy BMI by being more observant and to prevent these girls from also developing eating disorders.

The next step in this study is to observe the onset of menstruation and how hormonal changes can influence maturation.

Source: Click Here to read more about childhood obesity.

Written by Katherine Chua

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