May 29, 2024
Cardio metabolic Health

Study Shows Early Onset of Puberty Can Impact Adult Cardio metabolic Health

A recent study published on March 27, 2024, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE suggests that going through puberty earlier compared to peers of the same age could be a contributing factor to how childhood risk factors affect adult cardio metabolic health outcomes. The research was conducted by Maria Bleil and her team from the University of Washington.

Childhood adversities are often associated with poor health outcomes in later life. While previous conceptual models have focused on adaptive responses to stress in the short term but harmful effects in the long term, puberty has not been explicitly included in these models. However, puberty serves as a bridge between childhood and adulthood and is influenced by the environment in which a child grows up.

Factors such as race, with Black and Latina girls experiencing puberty earlier than white girls, the mother’s age at her first menstrual period, infant weight gain, childhood obesity, and adverse experiences like socio-economic disadvantage and stressful relationships with parents have been linked to an earlier onset of puberty.

In their study, Bleil and her colleagues analyzed pubertal timing and associated health risks in a group of women who were part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a long-term study following children and families from birth to adolescence from 1991 to 2009. A follow-up study was conducted from 2018 to 2022 when participants were between 26 and 31 years old, gathering information on social, behavioral, and health status in adulthood. The analysis included data from 655 women.

The findings revealed that a later onset of puberty, characterized by delayed breast development, pubic hair growth, and the first menstrual period, was associated with a lower risk of cardio metabolic issues in adulthood. These indicators of puberty were also found to mediate the impact of factors like the mother’s age at menarche, race, BMI percentile, and childhood socio-economic status on adult cardio metabolic risk.

Although the study could not establish causation, it highlighted the likely links between childhood risk factors, puberty timing, and adult cardio metabolic health. The authors suggest that interventions targeting puberty timing could potentially lead to improved health outcomes in at-risk girls. They call for further research to replicate and expand on these findings.

The researchers emphasize that considering the timing of pubertal development in girls is crucial in understanding how early-life risk factors influence cardio metabolic health in adulthood. They believe that interventions aimed at modulating puberty timing could play a significant role in enhancing cardio metabolic health outcomes.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research.
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