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Puberty: It starts earlier and earlier in girls – what’s behind it?

Puberty: It starts earlier and earlier in girls – what’s behind it?

Puberty starts earlier and earlier. The development is particularly noticeable in girls. For some people, their breasts grow as early as six years old. Why is that?

Childhood is getting shorter. For decades, scientists have been observing that children are reaching puberty earlier and earlier. The development is particularly extreme for girls. Why is it that the body begins to mature at younger and younger ages, with some girls developing breasts as early as the age of six or seven? Some factors are now known that seem to accelerate the path to puberty, but many things still remain a mystery.

Marcia Herman-Giddens provided the first solid evidence that girls are becoming women more quickly than before. She teaches at the University of North Carolina and is considered an expert on puberty development. Using data from more than 17,000 girls, Herman-Giddens found that girls’ breast growth began more than a year earlier in the mid-1990s than previously thought.

According to the figures, girls began developing breasts at the age of ten on average, with black girls starting to develop breasts at the age of nine. Since then, a number of further studies have been able to confirm the results. Girls now also get their first menstrual period earlier, in Europe usually at the age of twelve or 13. For comparison: In the 19th century, girls were almost 17 when they had their first period.

Source: Stern

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