So, in the past 24 hours, I have seen two different articles pop up on Facebook that have elicited quite the discussion. Both of them were on the topic of early puberty, particularly in girls in the United States. This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard this topic discussed, but I thought it particularly interesting that two separate articles, written at different times this year, just happened to be a conversation point in different circles of people. It must be on the minds of quite a few.
The first article, which you can read here, discusses obesity as a main factor in what we are seeing as a younger age of onset for puberty nowadays as compared with the past. Specifically, a study done by a physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that the mean age for early puberty in Caucasian girls was 9.6, and the median age is 8.5. Both of these numbers are younger than the age that was previously believed to be the case. The median ages for breast development for girls from other ethnic groups differed a bit – – African American girls were at 8.8 years, Hispanic girls were at 9.3 years, and Asian girls were at 9.7 years.
Interestingly, the second article, which can be found here, mentioned obesity as a factor, but went on to add environmental toxins and stress as factors as well. In one particularly distressing quote from the article, written by a physician who is also a mother of girls, we read: “The CDC has linked a solvent used in some mothballs and solid blocks of toilet bowl deodorizers and air fresheners to early menstruation – – they also found it in the bodies of nearly all the people tested in the US!”
There are some great tips in these articles for how to protect our children from some of these factors. The biggest one I can think of is to feed your kids *real* foods. This means foods that have not been processed or messed with in some way. Fruits and vegetables grown free of pesticides and other chemicals are the best. Sources of protein that are also free of outside contaminants will complement the fruits and vegetables. If kids grow up having active play as a daily part of their routines, it won’t be considered “exercise”, but will still give them the benefits that an active lifestyle offers, including that of being a lean, healthy kiddo. Lastly, keep those carcinogens and endocrine disrupters away from them by ensuring that the other products that touch their bodies and environment (shampoo, soap, laundry detergent) are truly safe.
Want more information? Ask me about my L.E.A.N. Start class, specifically geared towards caregivers of children ages 3 – 12, that offers even more tips on how to start your kids out with a healthful lifestyle. Contact me at [email protected] for more details.