Simplifying Science

The Start of Puberty Keeps Inching Backwards

Here goes my broken record: yes, puberty is starting younger and younger for our kids. This article highlights a new study that confirms what we have known for some time: obese kids are likely to develop sooner than non-obese kids. This has to do with hormone conversion in fat cells - obese bodies face a higher load of the hormones that send the body into puberty. But non-obese kids are at risk too. Every child in grammar school is facing hormonal shifts younger than her (or his!) parents did. Each study that comes along helps take us one step further down the road of understanding why. Hopefully, we can start doing something about it because these kids aren't ready - physically or emotionally - for what is happening to them. And we have no idea what the long term ramifications will be...

Obesity linked to early puberty in girls, study finds

There’s yet another reason to worry about the obesity epidemic among America’s kids: Extra weight may be sending U.S. girls into puberty earlier than ever. Researchers have found that girls with higher body mass index, a ratio of height and weight, may start developing breasts more than a year before their thinner friends — perhaps as early as second grade. The change is spawning a whole new market of child-sized sanitary pads — decorated with hearts and stars — and deodorants aimed at 8- to 10-year-olds, according to a new study and an editorial published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Read More