Puberty In 2nd Grade Becoming Ever More Common

By Molly Plunkett
Posted September 4, 2010
Moment of Science


Early bloomers have always been around. However, there is a noticeable trend of girls as young as 7-years-old who are already hitting puberty.

Something doesn’t seem right about hitting puberty before you hit 11 or 12. But it’s happening! More and more young girls are entering puberty earlier than ever before. The study shows a significant increase in puberty among girls as young as 7 or 8-years-old.

Scientists believe that the cause of this early development may be increasing obesity in young girls and increased exposure to environmental chemicals.

Obesity is a factor, because body fat actually produces estrogen. The increased amount of estrogen in obese children may be what is triggering puberty in these very young girls.

The cause could also be environmental. BPA (bisphenol-A), an endocrine-disrupting chemical, is found in plastics and phthalates, which are present in many personal-care products.

The study was conducted with many young girls of varying ethnic backgrounds. While there was some variation among ethnic groups, a notable shift to early puberty was seen across the board.

Should we be worried?

It may be too soon to tell. However, scientists are worried that longer exposure to estrogen (that’s levels dramatically increase in sexual maturity) will increase the risk of breast cancer in these individuals.

Read More:

  • Puberty Hits Girls As Young As 7 (HuffingtonPost)
  • Study: Signs of Early Puberty in More Young Girls (TIMES)

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Replies to This Discussion

Has the boys age lowered as well.As I can remember just having started comprehensive school(senior)in the U.K and that would have made me maybe 11 or coming up to 12 .Anyway, when we used to get changed for swimming I can remember that all of us was in awe of this one lad who practically looked like one of our fathers,he had obviously started shaving had a hairy chest,armpit hair,etc,etc, the works!!! I can still remember all of us feeling quite inadequate at the time,as none of us would get changed next to him lol

I was one of the girls this article mentions... I actually ended up developing a condition called PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) by about the age of 9 or 10, but it didn't really make itself obvious until I hit 15 or 16. PCOS and early puberty usually go hand-in-hand. A woman with PCOS was likely a child who hit puberty sooner than normal.

Looking at my life as a young child, I actually want to say that a bigger part of why it happened to me was the exposure to chemicals like BPA, which would have been in the bottles my mother fed me with. Also, I drank a LOT of cow's milk as a child. Given that it's usually tainted with hormones, probably more so back in the early 80's than now, that could very easily be where a greater part of my issues stemmed from.


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