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Critically Speaking

Jan 22, 2020

Early puberty is not only on the rise in girls, but the long term psychological and mental health consequences are only recently becoming clear.  Dr. Frank Biro, Professor of Pediatrics, expert in early puberty, discusses with Therese exactly what puberty is, and the observation that girls as young as 7 or 8 are beginning to enter puberty.  In other words, little girls in primary school grades are developing breasts, underarm hair, and body odor, much earlier than their peers.  Research suggests that in some cases the early onset of puberty maturation is correlated with body mass index (BMI). Significant behavioral risks for girls who mature earlier than their peers include social problems, school failure, delinquency, depression and even suicide. 



Key Takeaways:  

  • Breast development is the first outward sign of puberty in young girls. Studies with elementary schoolchildren show the onset of maturation is occurring in girls as young as 7-8 years old. 
  • Some factors contributing to a higher BMI in children includes food consumption, chemicals in the environment, and physical activity. 
  • Parents of early maturing girls are encouraged to be involved with their children and monitor their behavior closely.  Children are less likely to engage in risky behavior if they know their parents are monitoring their activities.  



"When we looked at the contributing factors we examined, body mass index was the single most important contributing factor to the earlier age of the onset of puberty maturation." —  Dr. Frank Biro 



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Twitter: @CritiSpeak  




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