The question that the media fail to adequately address, even though they love these headlines, is why? My guess is that it must be environmental — something in the food, water or air that our children are exposed to. Other ideas? Report from the LA Times:
Doctors and parents were stunned when research published more than a decade ago found American girls were beginning puberty at much younger ages, some as early as 7. A new study released Sunday suggests the average age at which puberty begins may still be falling for white and Latina girls.
According to the paper, which appears in the journal Pediatrics, almost 25% of African American girls have reached a stage of breast development marking the onset of puberty by age 7, as had almost 15% of Latina girls and more than 10% of white girls.
Those percentages are significantly higher than in 1997, when a landmark study first reported that girls were beginning puberty much younger than they had in the mid-20th century. In that study, the rate of girls who had begun puberty at age 7 was, on average, 5% for whites, compared with 10.4% in the new study.
In other words, the average age of puberty onset still appears to be in flux.
“In 1997, people said, ‘That can’t be right; there must be something wrong with the study,’ ” said Dr. Frank M. Biro, director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the lead author of the new study. “But the average age is going down even further.”
Biro’s study included 1,238 girls ages 6 to 8 who lived in one of three regions: Cincinnati, East Harlem, N.Y., or San Francisco. Puberty was determined by two examiners who worked independently to assess the girls’ breast development. By age 8, 27% of the girls had begun puberty: 18.3% of whites, 42.9% of blacks and 30.9% of Latinas…