too young for changes

October 27, 2011

As a teacher in my district, every week I receive a Time Magazine in my mailbox. Our school subscribes to Time for Kids, which is a weekly publication for students — therefore, I get the perk of getting a free magazine to sift through from time to time. To be perfectly honest with you, I rarely read my Time Magazine. Many times I will maybe skim through the cover story, but most of the time I am way too busy to actually sit down and read and article throughout the course of the day.

However, this morning I saw a headline on the cover that caught my eye – “Health Report: The Rise and Risks of Early Puberty”. As a teacher and someone who works with young girls, this article immediately caught my attention and I knew I had to read it. I have heard in recent years the speculations of puberty starting younger and younger for girls and have heard claims of what could be causing it, but I had never read quite as much research about it until I read that particular article this morning. Being a teacher, I can tell you that there are so many young girls who have bodies of teenagers in the fifth grade — even more, there are girls in second or third grade I can tell are already going through changes. I was a little taken aback after reading this article seeing that puberty is not even diagnosed as premature unless it happens before a girl’s eighth birthday — shocking!

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According to this article written by Jeffrey Kluger, many more girls than before are starting puberty at age eight. In the middle of the twentieth century, the average age for girls to start going through puberty was 13 — a drastic change to what is being seen right now. Kluger speculates there is only one thing that has changed since then… our diet.

A number of domino effects have happened since the United States changed their diets over the course of the last fifty years — obesity has been on the rise, meat and dairy products have been eaten in larger quantities, industrial chemicals have been added to foods, and the majority of children are far too inactive.

Let’s break a few of the categories down a little bit.

Obesity — In recent years, a third of all US kids are overweight or obese, a rising 20% of children in the 6-11 age range. The reason why obesity might speed things up is because fatty tissue stimulates the release of sex hormones. Therefore, if an overweight child starts producing sex hormones early, the rest of puberty is bound and determined to come as well.

Diet & Industrial Chemicals — I could go on about this one for days. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is full of high fat/caloric foods for starters.

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Even more disturbing to me is the amount of chemicals people consume on a daily basis. So many foods are genetically modified, have hormones pumped into them, or are tainted with chemicals during production — in fact, Kluger shares that the average American has 212 chemicals found in their blood. Yikes!

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What Kluger shares is that any of these chemicals are able to disturb the endocrine system’s natural functioning by mimicking the hormones, blocking them, or changing the way they are produced. This can lead to pre-mature puberty in young girls as well.

The Solution?

Doctors have been speculating on ways to “fix” this problem — including doing nothing, medicating young girls with drugs to fix their hormones, and finally, changing their diets and exercise.  It may be just me, but I think the latter might be the best option. While I believe there could be cases where diet and exercise is not a factor (ie: genetics), I really do believe it is the biggest factor in this problem occurring with young girls. Chemicals/hormones can also be partially eliminated if eating a “cleaner” diet. I am definitely not saying all the problems in the world will be fixed if people ate better, but I would be interested to see what would happen with these girls and the age that puberty started if they were to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Time to weigh in — what do you think about the younger onset age of puberty in girls? What do you think is causing this to occur?

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon @ Healthiful Balance October 27, 2011 at 6:06 am

Great post, Chelsey!
Im not really sure whats causing it, but maybe its all the food and the bad stuff people are putting into their bodies?

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:26 am

Thanks, Shannon! I absolutely agree!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga October 27, 2011 at 6:09 am

Oh I have thought about this topic quite a bit both b/c I have a young daughter and b/c I SEE it with my own eyes out in public. Holistic circles would say it’s b/c there are hormones and chemicals…everywhere. Antibiotic runoff in our water supply, hormones in food, chemicals in food, estrogen and soy in just about everything. All that, compounded with childhood obesity on the rise, and it’s a recipe for girls becoming women younger and younger.

Lots to think about. Thank you for this post, Chelsey.

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Katie October 27, 2011 at 6:09 am

I find this so interesting! We just spent an entire work on this topic in my developmental psychology class! (Psychology is my major) I completely agree with the article about diet playing a huge roll.

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:27 am

So interesting! I would have loved to sit in on that week in your class!

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Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles October 27, 2011 at 6:14 am

I know! I don’t think that our current generation thinks of it because our kids are either young or we don’t have any children yet…… but being a teacher, we see this drastic change in children – it’s different than even when we were kids…. I don’t think peopler are informed about what is added to their food or what is in their food if they are eating processed food. Great post, Chelsey! I love how you always bring your A game when talking about the youth that we are raising!
We get weekly reader at school— guess we should get Time for Kids ;) I want Time magazine!!!

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MilesMusclesMom October 27, 2011 at 6:33 am

really?? a proposed solution of putting MORE hormones/drug into our kids to battle the chemicals they are ingesting? That is not a solution, it is a mask.

People really need to wake up and realize that this is a very simple problem with an even easier solution.
Eat.Real.Food.

Once this happens, we will see a lot of these ailments go away.

Great post!!

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 6:50 am

I know! I got so infuriated when I saw that!!!

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Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries October 27, 2011 at 6:38 am

Reading stuff like this makes my skin crawl. I’ve heard about this puberty problem before – and like you said, I don’t think *everything* can be fixed by eating healthier, but it’s worth a damn shot. When I was in grade school, girls didn’t get their periods or breasts until 6, 7 and 8th grade. It’s terrifying to think that girls are starting to develop in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. I think the answer is obvious – it’s the diets that are high in fat and sugar coupled with sedentary life styles. Eat cleaner. Go for a walk. Turn off the TV. Why is this so difficult?

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 6:50 am

It’s not!

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kaity October 27, 2011 at 6:40 am

i totally agree with the diet and exercise thing, i see 9yr olds with more curves then me now a days its crazy and then everythin just starts younger with them and i dont think its a good thing, a couple of kids just it happens but its more then half of schools now its crazy! just add some veggies and walking for a start

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Katie @ Raisins&Apples October 27, 2011 at 6:51 am

I absolutely agree, especially the part about diet. I don’t see how hormones and antibiotics in the food we eat are of benefit to us.

I also think it’s scary how even more girls are being put on birth control at a younger age in order to cope with the side effects of menstruation. Adding even more hormones? It just seems a bit off.

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Katie @ Peace Love and Oats October 27, 2011 at 6:59 am

7% vegetables?? that’s ridiculous. Haha my diet is like 80% fruits and vegetables… But I certainly think it has to do with the American diet. I just can’t imagine getting your period at such a young age! I remember we first learned about puberty in 3rd grade with Girl Scouts, and then I didn’t start going through it (neither did my friends) until 7th or 8th grade!

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 27, 2011 at 7:09 am

I have heard about this too and definitely think its happening. I also believe the diet is a major factor in it as well. Scary.

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Alyssa @ Life of bLyss October 27, 2011 at 7:21 am

THANK YOU for covering this. I have actually seen this first-hand in one of my nieces. I feel like it has to be diet-related with all of the fortified foods, poultry being given extra hormones, etc.

either way, it’s super scary. and especially scary that we don’t know how to fix it yet.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes October 27, 2011 at 7:29 am

Excellent post! Very eye opening. I actually took a course called the global economy-food & agriculture which talked about stuff exactly like this. From what I’ve read, certain foods that like non-organic dairy (which have estrogen and other hormones in it) make girls reach puberty faster! It’s scary to think about really….!

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Lisa Fine October 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

I was going to write the same kind of thing!

There are so many pesticides, hormones, and other garbage in our food (and water, and just around us in general), that I think providing kids with more organic whole foods is the way to go. Unfortunately, it’s really expensive and hard to attain, and definitely isn’t the goal of the government.

Sigh.

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:28 am

You are both so right – there are so many pesticides and hormones in the food. It’s scary!

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers October 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

I had heard something about that before, it it’s very interesting to see the facts. I definitely think this is something that was caused by subtle behaviors and can hopefully be reversed by subtle behaviors (given how much of it is genetic, of course).

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Aly October 27, 2011 at 7:53 am

I am constantly hearing these same news stories and I am equally disturbed. My littlest sister ( now just turned 13) not only started menstruation at age 10 but is already a staggering 5 ft. 8 inches in height! I’ve heard a lot of people claim that it’s the hormones in commercial milk, so that’s why I splurge for organic dairy as much as possible.

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:28 am

Wow! I was 5 foot 8 inches at age 12, but thats where I stayed! :)

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Cara October 27, 2011 at 7:54 am

This is something I have been hearing about for the last several years in my studies. I think it is alarming, and yet another side effect of the poor American diet. While I don’t like the hormones and antibiotics that are injected into our food and I try to stay away from them, I absolutely think that the excess fat and sugar in our diets contributing to obesity is the main cause. More fat cells = stimulation of sex hormones.
It is really sad that these girls have to grow up so fast, and we all know nothing good can come from it!

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Colleen October 27, 2011 at 8:42 am

Hands down, the cause is diet. I am a high school teacher and have a specialists degree in anatomy, bio, nutrition, and Ed. I am the smallest person in all my classes (and I’m the teacher that’s 8 yrs older than my kids). No doubt it’s due to my diet. For instance, at this moment my class is working on group projects and some are eating thir breakfast (all from local fast food restaurants). I’m eating 1/2 cup steel cut oats. I could go on and on….

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Georgia October 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

It’s so scary but so true. It’s also sad that though this problem is getting more media coverage, it has been around for a long time. I remember I had a friend when I was 9 years old. She was overweight and beginning to grow breasts, while I was scrawny and my chest resembled a pancake. I spent a weekend with her, and she ate McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I wish I was kidding.

That’s one of the main reasons I became a vegan, is because you do not know what chemicals they are pumping into the burgers at your favorite fast food joint. These chemicals are altering our little girl’s bodies and changing their physicality before they’re even ready to handle a period.

Thanks for posting this! You’ve given us lots of food for thought!

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:29 am

That’s one of the main reasons I don’t eat meat anymore either – you just don’t know!

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marian@ marianWrites October 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

i completely agree that diet changes could help this trend… it’s scary what hormones we’re feeding to kids!

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Mackenzie @ Eat. Exercise. Evolve October 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

Please excuse as I stand on my soapbox to talk about a topic you only briefly mentioned…GMOs. As a science educator and the wife of a scientist, I have to say that the widely anti-GMO culture is misinformed. GMOs are not dangerous to your health. I won’t get into the ethics of GMOs regarding intellectual property, legal disputes, etc. because that’s a business/legal issue NOT a science/health issue. None of us ever eat fruit/vegetables in their “original” form because as humans we’ve been modifying them for years. For example, have you ever eaten a banana with seeds? Our modifications have only gone a level deeper with genetic modification. Additionally, GMOs have the capacity to save countless lives. I can’t 100% guarantee that GMOs won’t ever hurt someone (no scientist would ever say anything is 100% certain), but I can guarantee that starvation will.

Oh, and in terms of organic fruits/vegetables… the pesticides/herbicides that organic farming uses aren’t regulated/tested. Often they are sprayed with neurotoxins! Testing is goooood!

Don’t get me wrong, I love your blog! Stepping off my soap box now…

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

Your soapbox is definitely welcome! I love hearing all of the different opinions and theories.

I guess when I said “GMO” foods I meant to be more specific in saying foods that are “artificial” (like artificial sweetners/dyes/etc) or foods that have been treated with hormones and pesticides. Excuse my bad terminology!

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Krystina (Organically Me) October 27, 2011 at 9:34 am

I think it’s definitely our diet and inactivity. In regard to our diet, a big part of it stemmed from growth hormones in animal products. If you haven’t read it, you should definitely read My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. It’s one of my favorite books and is a real eye opener.

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Krystina (Organically Me) October 27, 2011 at 9:37 am

Oh, and I was an obese child and went through puberty in 4th grade. I can’t tell you how embarrassing and humiliating it was to see myself growing breasts before everyone else and having to go to the bathroom to change a pad. I feel like I was robbed of a full childhood.

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

That is horrible – I think the psychological effects it has on girls is the WORST!

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Lindsay @ Lindsay's List October 27, 2011 at 10:45 am

Absolutely agree that switching to a more pesticide and hormone free diet should be the FIRST step! Using meds seems outrageous, but that’s just me.

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

Outrageous AND ridiculous!

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Alyssa @ Don't Look Down October 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I agree! Whatever happened to trying the simplest solution first? I think as a nation we are already over-medicated (though I do understand that in some cases it is completely necessary). It is amazing to think how much our diets affect our lives!

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Jenna @ A Fit Girl's Martini October 27, 2011 at 11:07 am

I follow this topic as well, and I absolutley believe that early puberty, food allergies and obesity is due to chemical additives in our food. Within the last 15 years, our food supply has been tainted by artificial ingriedients and growth hormones, and that is about the time all of these issues began.
Make sure to buy milk that says rbgh free, and try to buy organic fruits, vegggies and meats whenever possible. We need to stop this problem now!

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nicole marie October 27, 2011 at 11:22 am

wonderful post. there are so many things that contribute to this. one that comes to mind is the pumping of hormones into chicken for creating a heartier piece of “breast meat.” children are eating this, and they, effectively, are consuming the same hormones that were fed into the chicken. children are growing quicker, larger, and unhealthier, just like their chicken counterparts. i love t. campbell’s “the china study” which convinced me that a vegan diet is the only diet. xxx

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Candy @ Healthy in Candy Land October 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

I agree 100% that a change in diet and lifestyle could reduce this problem, maybe even eliminate it. One of the biggest hurdles, I think, is first convincing the average American that it IS a problem. The next one is then getting them to do something about it. Wouldn’t it be nice if the biggest change came from the big companies that control the production of our food, who continue to add chemicals, hormones and toxins, while knowing the consequences of those actions? Oh right, a change would affect their profits, so that is out of the question. It’s pretty disgusting.

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Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile October 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

This is crazy because I was such a late bloomer, as in period didn’t come till 9th grade (I thought I was weird) but hearing 8 year olds? It’s definitely true though because I coached young girls in cheerleading for years. Everyone eats like crap and they just need to learn the right way to fuel our bodies. We weren’t meant to eat so many processed things with a bunch of scary ingredients and chemicals. It’s just not healthy.

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Great topic! I’ve thought about this before too whole heartedly agree with the assumption that it’s got to be diet and exercise related. The solution of using more drugs to counteract bad diet is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard but the sadder part about that is that I bet a lot of people wouldn’t think twice and just “let” their doctor do that. It would be the quick and easy way out rather than changing lifestyles.

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Lisa@Healthy Diaries October 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Very interesting Chelsey! I’ve heard a lot on this subject over the last recent years. I definitely think it has to do with being overweight or obese and all the added hormones into animal products.

I get so sad when I see children being fed horrible things. Working at my families grocery store, I see mom’s filling up their carts with all processed foods and it breaks my heart. I wish I could stop them and give them a lecture, but it’s not my part…

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Amber K October 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Time magazine is always fascinating (well some weeks more than others), but this article really got me thinking. Because I have a niece that is quite close to her eighth birthday and I’m concerned about her in general, let alone when it comes to things like this! Also because I was young when I went through puberty, I believe everything started in about the 4th grade for me. I know it was way before everyone else and it made me soo self-conscious.

I really think we need to a good look at the foods we’re eating and the chemicals in our environment.

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Kayla October 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Flashback to 5th grade: All my friends were getting their periods for the first time. They got to carry pads in their backpacks and it all seemed so glamourous. 5th grade! I kept thinking maybe mine would come but it never did. 6th grade. never came. 7th grade. never came. 8th grade. never came. 9th grade never came. 10th grade. finally came! but it was so irregular. it came every 5 months or so. now it is more regular, but still not perfect and I’m in 11th grade.

In 9th grade I was worrying so much. i thought something was wrong with me because my period was still non existent. I thought i wouldn’t be able to have kids when i grew up. i thought i had some disease or sickness or my body wasn’t made to be a mother or a “real woman”. when my period did come I was over joyed!

I am reading The China Study and I found the answer to my question: “Why did I get my period 5 years after many other girls my age?” It’s not genetics. My mom had her period when she was in 5th grade. In The China Study, I learned about studies that show that drinking cow’s milk and eating animal products can cause early menstrual cycle! Guess what? I was allergic to milk when I was little, but I never drink it now that I’m not allergic because I HATE the taste! I always used to hate cheese on sandwiches and would have pb&j instead, so I am living proof that the study is very reliable! The age I got my period isn’t unhealthy at all like I thought!

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Emily October 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Diet! Diet! Diet! It’s so sad that the “crap” we’re feeding our nation’s children is doing such damage to their little bodies! As a psych major, I’ve read lots of research about the emotional affects of early puberty, it’s so unfortunate!

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles October 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Coming fresh off reading The China Study, when I read the title of this post the first thing that came to mind was meat and dairy. There is no doubt in my mind that early puberty is caused by exposure to growth hormones in meat and dairy that we aren’t really meant to consume. There are so many awful “side effects” including increased risk of breast cancer resulting from lengthy exposure to estrogen and other hormones. With menopause occurring later and puberty occurring earlier, women are exposed to these hormones for increasing lengths of time, significantly increasing breast cancer risk. There is no doubt in my mind that changing diet is the best option for treating and preventing this problem.

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Jennifer October 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I wonder what age menarche was 100 years ago, 150 etc? Wonder what age it was during a great famine, or during a war where food supplies were scarce?

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Laura October 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Menarche in the Western world was on average around the age of 17-18 if I remember correctly- even today, young female athletes often experience a delayed menarche- my sister, for example did not start her periods until the age of 19, and a decade or two ago female gymnasts were notoriously behind in their secondary sexual characteristic development. For some years now, the most accepted thinking, based on extensive, statistically significant research is that the increasing incidence of precocious puberty in US young females is due to a rapid increase in their BMI. Research indicates that girls, have to reach a critical weight of around 43kg to induce the onset of menarche. Basically this weight usually produces a mass of adipose tissue that secretes enough leptin to bind to receptors in the hypothalamus in the brain, relieving inhibition of GnRH release, allowing pulses of this hormone to be released and to travel to the anterior pitutary gland, in turn inducing secretion of FSH, thus promotion maturation and release (ovulation) of ovarian follicles and the beginning of menstrual cycles. If a menstruating female falls below this critical BMI, or mass of adipose tissue (particularly visceral or fat around the ‘tummy’, which is an endocrine or hormone secreting tissue), then her periods should stop. In addition, it is well known that a female who exercises strenuously has lower oestrogen levels compared to another woman with a comparable BMI and adipose levels- hence this being one of the elements of the Female Athlete Triad syndrome. In all likelihood, it is the combination of a greater intake of energy dense foods, and reduced activity levels, leading to positive energy balance/higher BMI at a younger age and higher circulating oestrogen levels per se. The speculation about higher intake of exogenous hormones having an effect is unlikely to be the main cause, because pretty much most of these substances are broken down in the extremely harsh lytic conditions within our stomachs and small intestines… also, if you look at other areas of the world, where the use of antibiotics/hormone like substances are employed to very similar levels as in the U.S. the young girls there have not experienced the decrease in age of menarche onset as seen in the U.S. but in those countries where nutritional status has been improving (and as you pointed out it did as e.g. the U.S. and other Western countries industrialised last century), the age at time of first period has indeed become steadily younger and younger- and each generation, on average, has a higher median height (if you visit British medieval houses and castles, Norman churches or even eighteenth century stately homes, the beds/houses/burial chambers etc are far shorter/lower in height than nowadays). Also, we would also have seen a rise in true feminine characteristics in males- lack of male pattern hair, higher pitched voice, true gynocomastia (not just due to being overweight and acquiring adipose tissue in this area as a result). I guess the underlying mechanism is that the female body wants to ensure that it is fit, healthy, and has sufficient energy stores to withstand the physiological challenge of childbearing and breastfeeding?! I hope I haven’t bored anyone to tears with my waffling- I just personally think it is far better to look at evidence based, large cohort studies with good confidence intervals rather than pseudoscientific speculation or opinion in general, otherwise we can’t actually make the best decisions for our children? Oh, and coming off a 14 hour shift probably doesn’t help with my coherence either… sorry!

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cleaneatingchelsey October 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm

That was an awesome comment – you brought up so many good points! You are so well educated o this topic! Might I ask what your profession is?

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Ms. Adams October 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm

What I find to be crazy about this whole thing is that article after article has come out linking earlier on-set puberty with the over processed, hormone filled food we eat and yet nothing has changed. I just wonder what will make people finally get the message.

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! October 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I have heard the same thing! And it for sure has to do with our diets! Thanks for all the great info!!

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Katie October 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I miss getting TIME delivered at school. I kind of also miss TFK (that’s what we called TIME for Kids). I didn’t always read them, but wish I had this issue. I can’t even imagine going through puberty at 8! or before! I was 14!! I’m with you… I think diet and lifestyle are huge factors.

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Really interesting post Chelsey!

We’ve talked about this issue in my nutrition classes and I definitely agree that diet and obesity are to blame. It seems like they’re the cause of most of Western society’s problems these days. :P

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Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life October 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Great post! I’m a strong believer that the on set of puberty in young girls is due to their diet. There are so many chemicals and hormones that go into our food that the government doesn’t want us to know about. I could go on and on about this subject for weeks, so I’ll keep it short. This is an example of why I’m such a believer in eating organic fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy. Eating this way, and buying from local farmers you know exactly what you are buying and putting into your body.

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Kristin @ STUFT Mama October 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I’m not sure, but I totally believe it has somthing to do with all the chemicals and proccessed food, etc. kids are getting. Scary stuff.

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life October 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I have no idea what’s causing it but I feel like there are LOTS of things that are changing as our world keeps going – more people are getting allergies to foods, environmental issues and more – girls heading into puberty earlier…it’s all crazy.

I’m glad people like you are teachers though, I think you’re exactly the kind of teacher our younger generation needs.

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Michaela October 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

that was a great post, really!
I definitely think that all those hormones and stuff do their part, but also the fact that we are so “well-fed”. I think it´s really scary, actually, as I think just because you have a woman´s body doesn´t mean you are mature or behaving like an adult at all.

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Leila @ Spinach and Skittles October 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I definitely think that our standard diet of processed foods is a major contributing factor. I’ve got 4th graders complaining of cramps and checking out library books about periods. It makes me really, really sad.

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Leila @ Spinach and Skittles October 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

And I also think the rise of ADHD goes hand in hand…but that is another post for another time.

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Trixie October 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I have never understood why so many people assume that “chemicals” are bad. Everything around us is made of chemicals, and it always bothers me when I see a study citing all chemicals as evil. All this aside, I really feel that our diets do cause many health problems, and that’s a shame. It is not that hard to eat more vegetables, or drink milk without added growth hormones. I guess I just wish that everyone would take little steps to make positive changes in their eating habits.

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cleaneatingchelsey October 28, 2011 at 5:49 am

That’s one way to think about it – and you’re right. Everything is made up of chemicals. What is alarming is the number of chemicals that have been developed over the course of the last 50 years that are making their way into our bodies!

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lauren October 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

Premature puberty is definitely a problem, yet it isn’t consistent across the board. We need to figure out why some people are affected and others aren’t. That said, the number of hormones and pesticides used in our food supply has been increasing rapidly, especially in the last 30 or so years. Yea, we can produce more food then ever – but at what cost? I feel like a lot of our problems are directly caused by “improvements” in the western world.

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 30, 2011 at 7:44 am

We actually talked about this in school this week- modern non-organic dairy has links to just about every disease and sickness in our culture today. Dairy isn’t bad for us per se, but eating the stuff that’s full of hormones and pasteurized to remove all the good bacteria does more harm than good. Which reminds me of something else I learned- I know you’re lactose intolerant, but have you ever tried eating raw, whole- milk products? They’re FAR easier to digest, and even though they’re pretty expensive (yogurt and cheese is 2x as much and raw milk you usually have to sign a waiver to purchase since it’s not pasteurized), if you need just a little cheese fix every once in awhile it’s totally worth it. We have raw cheese at school and it’s amazing how much sharper and smoother the flavor is, and there are several lactose intolerant people in our class who can eat it without issues!

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Rebecca November 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm

As someone who has taught/been in the school system for two years, I can vouch that kids are developing much earlier. During student teaching I saw 3rd graders taller and heavier than me, 6th graders close to 6′…I could tell stories. Granted I’m small, still! I think diet does play a huge role and I think in the last 10 or so years, kids have gotten bigger and developed quicker than ever before. We’re giving hormones to the foods we eat, and it transfers over into us…

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