Maron, Dina. (2015). Why Girls Are Starting Puterty Early. Scientific America, May 2015.
For the past two decades scientists have been trying to unravel a mystery in young girls. Breast development, typical of 11-year-olds a generation ago, is now occurring in more seven-year-olds and, rarely, even in three-year-olds. That precocious development, scientists fear, may increase their risk for cancer or other illnesses later in life. Time has not resolved the puzzle, nor is there any indication that this trend is slowing. More and more families are finding themselves in the strange position of juggling stuffed animals and puberty talks with their first and second graders.
The big question is, what is causing this to happen? First, what causes puberty to begin? It starts in the brain. Something causes the brain to release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which signals the pituitary gland, which acts on the ovaries which eventually start producing estrogen. Estrogen begins the process of puberty. However, fat cells also produce estrogen. Obesity is thought to be the main reason there is this trend of girls starting puberty early. This makes logical sense since childhood obesity has over doubled in the last 30 years in our country. So this makes sense, that having an increased amount of fat cells at a younger age, that are producing estrogen, will cause early puberty.
Although researchers agree that obesity plays the central role in the earlier development of puberty, there is evidence implicating other factors as well. Researchers have long suspected that exposure to certain compounds known as endocrine disruptors might have a part in triggering early puberty. These substances, among them pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and biphenol A, mimic the effects of estrogen in the body – and so could potentially stimulate early breast growth. Because the body often stores chemicals in fat cells, an overweight girl is more likely to be exposed to more chemicals – making it difficult to apportion blame between endocrine disruptors and weight gain. Other investigators have implicated intense stresses in childhood.
This, along with most diseases or conditions, that our country is being plagued with more and more, seems to have many “causes.” It is very similar to the autism debate, what causes autism? I don’t think there is 1 single cause that can account for the rates of these conditions rising like never before. Our culture of over medicating, sedentary lifestyles (which destroy your spine), anti-bacterial everything, overly processed high in sugar foods, etc are all to blame.
So whats the answer? The author of this article offers some common sense ways to try to prevent early puberty in your daughters. Mainly, having regular exercise and eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. But there has to be more. Fruits and vegetables are great, but some are so pesticide rich, they can also be contributing to this trend. Organic is a must with certain foods. Go here to see a list of pesticide rich foods that should be bought organic: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php Juice plus is another great way to ensure you and your family are eating enough clean fruits and vegetables. Check that out here: http://amandarichards.juiceplus.com/content/JuicePlus/en.html#.VUKVxI5Viko Eliminating processed foods is also something that everyone should be working towards. And of course everyone needs to have an optimally functioning nervous system free from interference from a misaligned spine.
My guess is most people wont read this and decide make their children eat organic, exercise, and have their spines checked, out of fear of early puberty. However, I would hope that you will choose to eat this way, and live this way because you are pursuing health. The pursuit of health will be your method of prevention of more than just early puberty.