Why Are Kids Entering Puberty Earlier?

Bone growth, premature breast development and early menstruation are the most notable factors in precocious puberty. 

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LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué la pubertad se está adelantando cada vez más?

Although it is too early to determine the causes that are producing this phenomenon, there are already indications that it may be related to nutrition and some endocrine disruptors found in some food products for daily use. An investigation published in the Journal Jama Pediatrics has concluded that breast growth has advanced about a year in four decades.

On the other hand, various studies warn that, if this situation continues to grow, it will most likely put the health of minors at risk.

What is precocious puberty?

Puberty is known as a stage of life where children begin to develop physically and emotionally. This period is very important because it is the step that humans undergo to become men or women. Generally, girls enter this stage at the age of ten while boys begin it at eleven.

Now, when we talk about precocious puberty, it is because a process is being advanced that could cause certain problems in public health. The signs of precocious puberty commonly occur with a developmental advance, which could occur in girls at seven or eight years old and in boys at nine.

Close attention should be paid to these signs because they could have emotional and social consequences.

What is causing precocious puberty according to the study?

The research that was designed by the Ciber Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition showed that this problem may be directly linked to obesity. It is not the first time that this hypothesis has been reached, as previous studies have also related it.

Likewise, the research found that there is a new regulatory circuit that, through thinness or early obesity, is modifying the functions of Sirt1, a regulatory molecule that controls the activation of Kiss1, a protein responsible for sexual maturation. In other words, nutritional conditions seem to play an important role in precocious puberty and its consequences.

However, another factor that would also be influencing (according to the study) are endocrine disruptors. For the University of Granada, this substance present in the human body that interferes with the binding or elimination of natural hormones is responsible for altering the processes of reproduction, development and behavior in children.

The problem with the subject is that these disruptors are part of the consumption of food and personal care products in everyday life.

We suggest you read: Gallery: These Everyday Chemicals could be Affecting your Health

What are the long-term consequences?

The main difficulty of precocious puberty in girls is that they may feel embarrassed for appearing older, due to their development or the fact that their menstruation arrives earlier than other girls. This can affect their mental health. However, it is also related to metabolic disorders, increased risks of suffering from cardiovascular ailments or developing gynecological or breast problems.

While the issue in children is commonly reflected in an accelerated height increase, causing bone growth to stop before the natural time. This causes children to become shorter than they might have been if they had grown correctly.

In addition, this situation strongly influences the behavior of children. It has been seen that girls who suffer from precocious puberty may have irritability or suffer from disorders such as depression and anxiety. In children there may be aggressive behaviors and sexual impulses that are unusual for their age.

Parents have to pay attention to the signs and seek medical help because early puberty could cause long-term diseases such as breast cancer, cardiovascular or serious psychological disorders.