Monday, March 05, 2007

Being Overweight may Kickstart Puberty

Something that all parents ned to be aware of. Anther rason to be concerned about childrens health.

Kevin

Being Overweight May Kick Start Puberty
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Overweight girls -- including those who gain a lot of weight in early childhood -- are significantly more likely to experience an early puberty.
These findings support previous research suggesting weight gain in girls leads to earlier puberty but add to the evidence because this is the first time researchers have looked specifically at how weight gain years before puberty starts impacts maturation.
"Previous studies had found that girls who have earlier puberty tend to have higher body mass index, but it was unclear whether puberty led to the weight gain or weight gain led to the earlier onset of puberty. Our study offers evidence that it is the latter," says study author Joyce Lee, M.D, M.P.H.
The research is based on statistics gathered on 354 girls included in a large, nationwide child health study. By the fourth grade, about 30 percent of the girls were either overweight or at significant risk of becoming overweight and 168 had already entered puberty. Higher body mass index (BMI) scores were linked to early puberty, and girls who had experienced a steep increase in BMI between 3 years old and their entry into first grade were at significantly higher risk of falling into the early puberty group.
The authors believe these findings hold important implications for society as a whole, noting early puberty is linked to everything from earlier drinking and sexual intercourse to a higher risk for reproductive cancers.
"More studies are needed to identify the pathophysiologic mechanisms by which obesity leads to puberty and to determine whether interventions for weight control at an early age may slow or arrest the progression of pubertal onset to earlier ages in the population," they write.
This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.
SOURCE: Pediatrics, published online March 5, 2007

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