Puberty Starts Earlier Than It Used To. No One Knows Why.
Still, she added, many women who develop early are usually not obese.
“Obesity can’t explain all of this,” Dr. Shaw mentioned. “It’s just happened too quickly.”
In the last decade after the Herman-Giddens research, Dr. Juul started noticing a rise within the variety of referrals for early puberty in Copenhagen, largely of women who had been creating breasts at 7 or 8 years previous.
“And then we thought, ‘Is this a real phenomenon?’” Dr. Juul mentioned. Or, he questioned, had mother and father and medical doctors turn out to be “hysterical” due to the information protection of Dr. Herman-Giddens’s research?
In a 2009 study of almost 1,000 school-aged ladies in Copenhagen, his crew discovered that the typical age of breast improvement had dropped by a year since his earlier research, to somewhat below 10, with most women starting from 7 to 12 years previous. Girls had been additionally getting their durations earlier, round age 13, about 4 months sooner than what he had reported earlier than.
“That’s a very marked change in a very short period of time,” Dr. Juul mentioned.
But, in contrast to medical doctors within the United States, he didn’t suppose weight problems was responsible: The physique mass index of the Danish youngsters within the 2009 cohort was no completely different than it had been within the Nineties.
Dr. Juul has turn out to be probably the most vocal proponents of an alternate concept: that chemical exposures are responsible. The ladies with the earliest breast improvement in his 2009 research, he mentioned, had the best urine ranges of phthalates, substances used to make plastics extra sturdy which might be present in the whole lot from vinyl flooring to meals packaging.
Phthalates belong to a broader class of chemical compounds known as “endocrine disrupters,” which might have an effect on the conduct of hormones and have turn out to be ubiquitous within the atmosphere over the previous several decades. But the proof that they’re driving earlier puberty is murky.