New research is finding that early puberty has increased by double over the past ten years.
The study monitored more than 1,000 girls, ages 6 to 8, in three American cities. It showed a drastic increase in the number of cases of early onset puberty. The rate was even higher among African American girls than white girls. According to the results, 10 percent of 7 year old white girls developed breasts, while that number jumps to 25 percent in African American girls.
Speculation is that the rise in early onset puberty has a direct correlation to the rise in childhood obesity. While a girl’s environment and genetics might play a role, it is believed that obesity leads to early onset puberty symptoms and increased breast growth.
This causes concern among parents and medical personnel based on previous studies that showed a relationship between early puberty and the risk of breast cancer.
But no one knows what age is ideal for puberty to begin. There have not been any studies into the effects of early puberty on a girl or studies into the proper age to mentally handle it.
Early puberty can cause many problems for girls, including a lack of self-esteem, depression, and eating disorders, according to child psychologists.