Girls especially affected: Many children start puberty earlier and earlier
Scientific studies have shown that children reach puberty earlier and earlier. This phenomenon is particularly observed in girls. With them, the body often begins to change in early elementary school. This could be due to certain environmental toxins.
Female breast development begins a year earlier
Girls come to puberty earlier and earlier. This was shown in an older Danish study. The scientific study, in which 1,000 girls were involved, showed that breast development begins on average one year earlier than 20 years ago - around the age of nine years and ten months. According to the study authors, the study results underscore the long-term trend that the average age at which girls reach puberty has decreased significantly. In the 19th century it was around 15 years old.
Serious consequences for physical and emotional health
Some experts point out that early puberty is not pathological, but there are certainly indications that it is associated with health risks.
For example, British scientists found that girls who hit puberty early are more likely to become obese than adults.
And U.S. researchers reported a study that suggested that early puberty in girls can be a warning sign of later depression.
The Danish experts also discussed the serious consequences for girls' physical and emotional health from early puberty.
For example, there is fear that those affected have a higher risk of breast cancer and heart disease because they are much more exposed to the sex hormone estrogen.
And: "When girls mature early, they develop youthful problems early on and are more susceptible to diseases later on," said study leader Dr. Anders Juul from the Copenhagen University Hospital, according to a report by the British newspaper "Daily Mail".
"We should be concerned about it regardless of what the reasons might be," said the expert.
“It is a clear sign that something is influencing our children; be it fast food, environmental chemicals or a lack of physical activity. "
The phenomenon could have different causes
Richard Stanhope, an expert on hormone disorders, points out other issues in the Daily Mail:
"All of the things we experience as teenagers are difficult enough to manage, but when they happen at ten or eleven, they're much worse."
These children would also have a "much higher risk of being sexually abused," the expert said.
As further reported in the newspaper, scientists believe that the phenomenon of early puberty could also be due to increasing obesity (obesity) and changes in diet.
Lack of exercise and junk food could also play a role.
The plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA), which is often found in plastic objects and in the lining of food and beverage cans, is also suspected.
Dr. Juul tested blood and urine samples from the girls to see if a connection could be detected.
Chemical hazardous to health
Earlier studies have shown that bisphenol A threatens our health.
According to experts, the substance can damage nerves and even trigger cancer.
In addition, BPA is said to have effects on the hormonal balance. The chemical may also be a trigger for food allergies.
In addition, studies indicate a connection between an elevated BPA level in the blood and diabetes, cardiovascular problems, a lack of libido or obesity.
Voice break at 12 years old
The phenomenon of ever earlier puberty is not only observed in girls. Boys are also affected, as Richard Sharpe of the Medical Research Council in Edinburgh explained.
According to the scientist, it had been found that more and more boys leave school choirs at the age of 12 or 13 - because they break their voices at this age. (ad)