Puberty onset predicts later life diseases

London, June 21: The age at which children hit puberty is linked to diseases that they develop later on in their lives, says a study

The study was done by researchers at Cambridge University.


"Puberty timing in both men and women appears to have a profound impact on later health," said the study based on data analysis of nearly 500,000 individuals in Britain.

The researchers found that early puberty timing is associated with higher risks for Type-2 diabetes and heart disease in both women and men.

Late onset of puberty in women is associated with higher risks for low intelligence, asthma, poor overall health, and poor sleep, the findings showed.

Puberty represents the biological and psychological transition from childhood to adulthood.

"Till now, the link between early puberty and risk of disease has been blamed on weight and obesity, but our findings suggest that men and women of a normal weight who go through puberty relatively early or late may also carry these risks," lead author Felix Day was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

The researchers asked the participants when their puberty had starting -- the age of their first monthly period for women and when their voice broke in men.

Women who had their periods between ages eight and eleven were classed as early, while those who had periods between ages fifteen and nineteen were classed as late.

In the study 4.3 percent men reported they were "relatively younger" when their voice broke, and 5.9 percent reported they were "relatively older", and the remainder reported they were "about average".

Relatively younger (versus about average) voice breaking in men was associated with 14 adverse outcomes and relatively older voice breaking was associated with 11 adverse outcomes including asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.

Compared to the median/average group, earlier or later puberty timing in women or men was associated with higher risks for 48 adverse outcomes, across a range of cancers, cardio-metabolic, gynaecological/obstetric, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and neuro-cognitive categories, the study said.

The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.


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