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At what age would you expect your daughter to…
Start developing breasts?
I just came across a shocking study showing how American girls are starting puberty earlier than they ever have before.
That means breasts… And breasts mean boys…
I hope my daughter wouldn’t be budding breasts in 1st or 2nd grade. Even worse these days, by 6th grade most all girls are fully capable of bearing children.
On average, African American girls are developing their breasts first, at just age 8, with Hispanics, Caucasian and Asian girls close behind at age 9.
That’s just the average though. For some, it’s even sooner…
The study showed 22% of black girls started developing breasts before age 8, 9% before age 7, and 21% of white girls before age 9!
Over 30% of black girls are budding breasts at age 6 and 7??? Call me old-fashion, but that’s crazy!
At this time in a child’s life, they should be playing, coloring, laughing, and having a good time.
6 and 7 Year-Olds Shouldn’t Be Shopping for Bras!
Maybe you don’t share my opinion, but let’s look a little closer…
This large, eight year study took place from 2004 through 2011, and included 1239 girls in the Cincinnati, New York, and San Francisco areas.
It’s also been shown young girls who are physically more mature than their peers are more likely to be sexually active, interact with older adolescents, use illegal substances, and/or suffer from depression.
While these children are physically maturing fast, they aren’t maturing as fast mentally. At the end of the day, they may be growing into their bodies and breasts, but they still have the brain of a 6, 7, 8, or 9 year-old.
As concerning as these findings are, what’s the cause behind all this?
Some scientists have suggested ideas not measured in this study, chemical exposures, socio-economic status, diet, lack of exercise, and family stress, but they simply don’t know for sure.
But they did find one commonality…
Overweight and obese girls are starting puberty much sooner than their leaner peers.
There are hormonal changes and maturation that must happen to initiate puberty, specifically the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis, but does obesity induce this early maturation?
In Laymen’s Terms…
Is the rise in childhood obesity the reason why our children’s bodies are changing and starting puberty too early?
Whether you’re a child or an adult, the choices that cause obesity are the same choices that cause the early development of physical conditions and diseases…
But how bad is the childhood obesity problem really?
Let’s Go Over the Numbers
These below statistics will help us get a better idea…
Keep in mind this problem is getting worse, so the actual numbers may be even higher today.
In 2010, 1 out of 3 children were overweight and 1 out of 6 obese. Also, more boys are obese than girls, with 19% of boys obese and 15% of girls.
Comparing that to the 70’s, 1 out of 20 kids were obese. That’s just 5%
Does race play a factor?
In 2010, the largest percentage of obese children was in the African American population, but not by much. Black adolescents come in at 24% obese, whereas Hispanic is at 21%, and Whites at 14%.
These stats only account for children between 2 and 17, so what about US infants?
Sadly, 10% of infants, between 0-2 years, are labeled as having a “high weight for recumbent length.”
High weight for recumbent length is the medical term used for obese infants because infants cannot be considered obese until age 2.
As I think about a picture my parents took of me as an infant on the couch, I would have definitely been labeled as a child who has a high weight for recumbent height!
I looked like a sausage! A cute sausage though…
Processed foods, fast food, candy, soda, sugary drinks, breakfast cereals, and all the junk provided to our kids is the real problem…
We humans are so resilient. It’s literally a miracle how much stress and damage we can handle without skipping a beat.
All that stress adds up though and it adds up fast. It’s only a matter of time before it catches up to you. The awesome consolation prize is that we can recover from conditions, diseases, cancers, diabetes, and obesity…
We just need to give our bodies the right tools to do it!
I’m a far shot from that picture of me as a super fat baby, which is why I’m excited to share my follow-up post next week.
It features several strategies to help parents install healthier, life-long habits.
These easy to incorporate ideas will help your kids get leaner, stay healthier, and definitely feel happier.
Do you know a family who struggles with being overweight or obese?
Help make a difference by sharing this post right now
Your Partner in Raising Happier, Healthier Kids
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