It's a case of the body coming into maturity before the mind. Research has indicated that girls in the U.S. are reaching puberty at increasingly younger ages. Why?
Between 2004 and 2011, more than 1,200 girls aged between six and eight were studied to see when their breasts began to develop (not necessarily when menstruation started).
The findings were interesting. The average age—9.7 years old—was three to four months younger than that found in a 1997 study, and much younger than that recorded in the 1960s.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, race plays a factor, with Black girls hitting puberty at 8.8 years, and Hispanic girls at 9.3 years, compared to that of White or Asian girls above.
The reason for the change? Higher body mass indexes (BMIs) were attributed to the earlier onset in puberty, claims the study, published in Pediatrics in yet another health repercussion of childhood obesity.
Though it should be noted that diet and lack of exercise aren't the only factors at play; environmental factors including "hormone-laced hair products" may also contribute in speeding up puberty.
So what? Girls who reach puberty at a young age face an increased risk of high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes as they age, not to mention social repercussions such as bullying. Some tips on how to talk about puberty with your little girl.
Were you (or your daughter) an early bloomer? How did it affect you?