Hormone evolution: Girls are developing faster than ever and doctors have no idea why

Friday, April 6, 2012
By Paul Martin

April 5, 2012

HEALTH – Breast growth at age 5? Stop! That can’t be a thing… Can it? It can. As Strollerderby has previously reported, girls as young as 7 are documented as having had their period. According to Jezebel, by age 7 an astounding 23% of African American girls are showing breast growth followed by 15% of Hispanic girls, 10% of Caucasian girls and only 2% of Asian girls. That can’t be what Mother Nature intended. But it’s happening and an increasing number of moms want to know why. A landmark study in the sixties suggested the average age at which girls hit puberty to be 11. But, as the NY Times reports, a doctor in the late eighties first noticed otherwise: Marcia Herman-Giddens, then a physician’s associate in the pediatric department of the Duke University Medical Center, started noticing that an awful lot of 8- and 9-year-olds in her clinic had sprouted pubic hair and breasts…So she started collecting data, eventually leading a study with the American Academy of Pediatrics that sampled 17,000 girls, finding that among white girls, the average age of breast budding was 9.96. Among black girls, it was 8.87. It’s true, girls are getting their periods earlier than ever and as Jezebel reports, no one knows why. It has been theorized that stress, environment and obesity could all be contributing factors (which narrows the cause down to…everything), so it would be interesting and perhaps beneficial to see a percentage breakdown based on socio-economic status as opposed to race. Does early puberty effect 23% of African American girls living in wealthy communities as it does girls living in lower-income areas? Are 10% of Caucasian girls developing prematurely across the board or is it more common for those living with less access to nutrition? To dig a little deeper I checked out the NY Times article Jezebel cites. In Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’? Elizabeth Weil interviews Tracee Sioux, whose 9-year-old daughter Ainsley began developing pubic hair at age 6. Test after test with doctor after doctor turned up nothing unusual. “The doctors always come back with these blank looks on their faces, and then they start redefining what normal is,” Tracee tells Weil. “And I always just sit there thinking, What are you talking about, normal? Who gets pubic hair in first grade?” –Babble

See: Is it estrogen in the meat

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