In an article published on June 20, 2016 by the Wall Street Journal, journalist Sumathi Reddy reports on a phenomenon of increasing precocious puberty observed by U.S. pediatricians and endocrinologists in girls under eight years of age. According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics in May 2016, girls with signs of early puberty had a higher risk of depression in early adolescence. Further, early-maturing girls are more prone to risk taking behaviors and long-term consequences include higher risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer, stated Frank Biro, professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, U.S., who was not involved in the study. Experts relate the early onset of puberty in girls to a longer lifetime exposure to estrogen, which for the most part can be explained by increasing childhood obesity rates, Reddy writes. “Body fat releases the hormone estrogen, which is released from the ovaries during puberty, causing the start of breast development,” Reddy further explains. The increase in obesity may to some extent be due to exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as phthalates, which are associated with greater body mass index (BMI), Biro highlighted.
Sumathi Reddy (June 20, 2016). “For more children, puberty signs start at 8.” The Wall Street Journal