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  1. #1 Girls hit puberty earlier than ever, and doctors aren't sure why 
    Girls hit puberty earlier than ever, and doctors aren't sure why
    By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY

    Updated 23m ago

    "All of our friends told us to cherish every moment," Claudia says. "When I started planning her first birthday party, I remember crying and wondering where the time had gone."

    Even so, Laila's parents never expected their baby to hit puberty at age 6.

    They first noticed something different when Laila was 3, and she began to produce the sort of body odor normally associated with adults. Three years later, she grew pubic hair. By age 7, Laila was developing breasts.

    Without medical treatment, doctors warned, Laila could begin menstruating by age 8 — an age when many kids are still trying to master a two-wheeler. Laila's parents, from the Los Angeles area, asked USA TODAY not to publish their last name to protect their daughter's privacy.

    Doctors say Laila's story is increasingly familiar at a time when girls are maturing faster than ever and, for reasons doctors don't completely understand, hitting puberty younger than any generation in history.
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    About 15% of American girls now begin puberty by age 7, according to a study of 1,239 girls published last year in Pediatrics. One in 10 white girls begin developing breasts by that age — twice the rate seen in a 1997 study. Among black girls, such as Laila, 23% hit puberty by age 7.

    "Over the last 30 years, we've shortened the childhood of girls by about a year and a half," says Sandra Steingraber, author of a 2007 report on early puberty for the Breast Cancer Fund, an advocacy group. "That's not good."

    Girls are being catapulted into adolescence long before their brains are ready for the change — a phenomenon that poses serious risks to their health, says Marcia Herman-Giddens, an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

    "This is an issue facing the new generation," says Laila's doctor, Pisit "Duke" Pitukcheewanont, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, who treats girls with early puberty. "Many parents don't know what is going on."

    Researchers don't completely understand why the age of puberty is falling, Herman-Giddens says. Most agree that several forces are at work, from obesity to hormone-like environmental chemicals. There's no evidence that boys are maturing any earlier, says Paul Kaplowitz, author of Early Puberty in Girls.

    But data clearly show that girls once matured much later, probably because poor diets and infectious diseases left them relatively thin, Steingraber says. Girls' lack of body fat may have sent a message to their bodies that they weren't yet ready to carry a pregnancy, she says.
    More at the link. You can't help but wonder what effects this kind of thing will have over large populations. :(

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  2. #2  
    CU Royalty JB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    You can't help but wonder what effects this kind of thing will have over large populations. :(
    Blame the water. There's more men walking around with breasts right now so why not young girls. It's either the water or BigMacs. :p

    And I know what effect it will have in muzzieland. Girls 7 years 9 months old will be having kids.
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    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
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    It's all the hormones in the meat.


    I think I read somewhere once that there was a connection to girls maturing earlier in warmer climates than in colder ones. The american population has defintely trended south over the past 20-30 years. Throw in some other things, like some ethnic groups perhaps a genetic tendency to mature earlier than others, and you can have a big trend going before long.

    As a children's services worker, my concern would be that stupid men will be that much more confused about who it is legal to have sex with and there will be a rise in sexual crimes involving child victims.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    It's all the hormones in the meat.


    I think I read somewhere once that there was a connection to girls maturing earlier in warmer climates than in colder ones. The american population has defintely trended south over the past 20-30 years. Throw in some other things, like some ethnic groups perhaps a genetic tendency to mature earlier than others, and you can have a big trend going before long.

    As a children's services worker, my concern would be that stupid men will be that much more confused about who it is legal to have sex with and there will be a rise in sexual crimes involving child victims.
    I think the fatness connection sounds interesting. Fat exerts an estrogenic effect independent of sex or pubertal status.

    I also think you are right about the jail bait issue but the girls themselves will also be part of this problem. A 13 year old has few more impulse-control cards in her deck than a 10 year old does. :(
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    Best Bounty Hunter in the Forums fettpett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I think the fatness connection sounds interesting. Fat exerts an estrogenic effect independent of sex or pubertal status.

    I also think you are right about the jail bait issue but the girls themselves will also be part of this problem. A 13 year old has few more impulse-control cards in her deck than a 10 year old does. :(
    we eat more meat in this country than any other also more than has been eaten historically as well. wouldn't surprise me one bit if that was the key contribution to the changes. Along with the huge amount of milk that is drank by us, particularly post 2 years old.


    it also doesn't help that girls 10-15 try and emulate their favorite stars who dress like little hoochies on TV
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    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fettpett View Post

    it also doesn't help that girls 10-15 try and emulate their favorite stars who dress like little hoochies on TV
    Or that Abercombie sells padded, push up bra bikini tops to 7 and 8 year old girls.
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    Power CUer FlaGator's Avatar
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    Perhaps it's related to things like this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba030UmbkCo

    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
    C. S. Lewis
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