Why are girls starting puberty sooner?


Puberty announces itself to girls with growing breasts and their first period.

This process, fuelled by significant hormonal changes, is hard on girls no matter how mentally mature they may appear.

In 1901, the median age for girls going through puberty was approximately 14 years and there was little difference among ethnicities.

But things have changed. As Professor George Patton, of Murdoch Children’s Hospital, said recently: “In the course of the 130 years, between 1830 and 1960, we saw a drop in the age of onset of periods from about 17 years down to about 12-and-a-half, 13 years.”

Several factors have led to the earlier age of puberty. Most scientists agree that improved nutrition plays an important factor, as does the ability for children to develop with a degree of emotional, social and financial comfort.

However, with rates of puberty starting an additional two to four years earlier scientists are still trying to determine the cause. Danish research shows puberty is occurring even earlier, with many girls showing signs at just 10.

It has been argued that excess fat can affect oestrogen, so the researchers examined the relationship between age of puberty and obesity. They found that children aged seven with weight issues were more likely to enter puberty earlier. However, they also noted there was a universal trend towards premature puberty that could not be explained by obesity alone.

Additionally, different ethnicities are now beginning to experience different pubertal rates, which may suggest social and economic inequality has a physical impact. This is a particular concern with for African-Americans, nearly 50 per cent of whom display signs of puberty at the age of eight.

Environment is also considered a possible factor, with the presence of hormones, chemicals and pollutants showing an impact on the development of fish and animals. Professor Paton has said that this exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals is “one of the things people are speculating on”.

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Categories: Sex

2 Comments on “Why are girls starting puberty sooner?”

  1. Bernie
    July 26, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    Just more years for these poor girls to be frustrated before they can go the guiltless sex thing.


  1. Notes on Puberty | DanielNester.com - August 12, 2013

    […] Why are girls starting puberty sooner? (missyjubilee.wordpress.com) […]

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