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Old 07-05-2008, 12:17 PM   #1
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Early Puberty

Seems to be a topic of interest here so I thought I'd provide a place to discuss it.

GotGarlic posted some info in this thread about the BGH.

It is my understanding from years of reading and assimilating information that puberty is starting earlier for many reasons.

One of the most important is that our overall nutrition is better now than it used to be. Lets just go with say the Middle Ages. They didn't have access to all the nutrition we have now. In the winter, seeing a piece of fruit would be pretty rare unless it had been made into jam or dried at harvest time. So, their puberty was later simply because their bodies weren't at peak efficiency.

Another reason is because our society (North American society) is leaning heavily (excuse the pun) toward obesity. The word obese does not necessarily refer to those who are really huge, it refers instead to your BMI. You can Google this easily but here is a link to an easy one. (PS, go to the advanced one) You will be surprised at how little it takes to be referred to as obese. Having said that, girls who have even a slightly elevated BMI will begin to develop earlier because the body requires fat to produce estrogen which of course is the beginning of menses etc.

OK, now that I've bored you all senseless let me also throw in a small reassurance for the Dads out there with daughters. Girls can start "budding" and showing signs of that lovely hormonal roller coaster for YEARS before they actually have a period. Many many girls start that dreaded cycle when they are as young as 8 or 9 and don't begin menses until 12-14. (Which is considered the norm now.) That didn't sound as reassuring as I meant it to. LOL. Sorry guys.

OK, and now my own personal observation is that genetics plays a part too. If Mom started early, chances are pretty good her daughter will too. If daughter has a genetic predisposition to being heavier, well...see above for the BMI info. Some folks it is just bred into genetically. Now whether this is influenced by genetic stuff we eat or whether it is a natural progression is beyond my scope. I plan to do some more reading to figure that one out.

Anyone have thoughts to share here?

PS. Found out my BMI puts me in "Overweight" as opposed to "Obese", whew. Although on another calculator I was Obese dang it all.

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Old 07-05-2008, 01:03 PM   #2
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All I remember is noticing in the '80s kids looked like 20+ year olds (size-wise) and have, since. And not all necessarilly obese. Just larger.
I was always small. I look at my old elementry school class pictures and don't believe how small I was and still am. (5'3 -115lbs-52 yrs old) compared to today's kids.
I was called a skinny-balink (if anyone knows that term).
But to me, I was normal. Fed and ate well.
Much, Much better than today's kids. A home cooked meal every night. No fast food. Even pizza was home made.
For my age group back then, I was normal height. Just skinny. That's a family on the female side thing.
I see many youth, since the '80s, tower over their parents and teachers. And I know many who's diets consist, at least 1/2 the week, on fast food.
Getting fresh pineapple, peaches, etc., in January, I don't think is the reason why, as we had fresh, seasonal stuff all winter too. (beets, parsnips, potatoes...) and we did our own canning and pickling, etc. which kept the nutritional content.
I know kids don't eat breakfast like we used to - home cooked, fresh everyday. And we didn't have today's obesity problems.
Mom's told us to got outside and play, even in winter.

In 7th & 8th grade girls were "developing".
My mother's generation, she told me was 10th & 11th grade. (during the depression).
I can read all I want on BMI, etc, But know it's not due to anything good, or chemicals or what have you.
Kids are definately less physical, and eat alot more empty calories. Then add your chemicals.
They also get less sleep. And if you read those studies, they say, when a body is deprived of sleep, it craves food. The opposite works as well. When you don't eat, or eat poorly, you tire.
That's my take, and no solution or answers why.
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Old 07-05-2008, 01:24 PM   #3
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Quicksilver, thanks for the reply. Maybe I'm missing it, but I'm not sure what your "take" is? Are you saying that growth hormones in our food is the reason for earlier puberty? Or nutrition levels?

When you state that girls hit puberty in later grades with our Mom's generation are you taking into account the Depression? I know my Mom was growing up then.

And by better nutrition and things available, I didn't mean to suggest fresh fruit necessarily. Just the fact that we can EAT at all is better nutrition. Folks in past times didn't necessarily have much food at all throughout the winter months. I'm not going to give a history lesson, but suffice it to say, even FAST food is an improvement.
(If you tour a museum take a look at the size of the armor back then. People in general were much smaller. Men were tall at 5' 7".) Though it does tie right back into that obesity thing.

Sorry if I'm being dense. Just wanting a little clarity for myself personally.
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Old 07-05-2008, 01:36 PM   #4
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I think the hormones are after the fact. The 3rd or 4th, or 5th influence.
Heredity, nutrition, sleep, activity.

And....off topic....what I also find strange is, cycles were later, but lifespans were shorter. In general. Not due to an accident or bacterial or virual infection.
Go figure.
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Old 07-05-2008, 01:42 PM   #5
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Got it now. Thanks. And I think I'd be close to your assessment. I'd just reverse your first two, but they are closely linked in my mind. Mine would be more like: Nutrition, heredity and others unspecified after that.

The longevity thing is a whole other debate I think. We don't die of as many diseases as we used to, childbirth is somewhat safer, and again, better food so less starvation. At least on this continent.
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Old 07-05-2008, 02:40 PM   #6
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Don't know if I should be asking questions here, but, the effects on our lives of what we eat, what chemicals are in the things that we eat and what we really know about the effects of all this interests me.

Alix - you place Nutrition first in your prioritized list. Someone else, I believe GB, has said that there is no research that says BGH is a factor. Is it possible that it could be a factor and we don't know it yet?
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Old 07-05-2008, 04:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adillo303 View Post
Don't know if I should be asking questions here, but, the effects on our lives of what we eat, what chemicals are in the things that we eat and what we really know about the effects of all this interests me.

Alix - you place Nutrition first in your prioritized list. Someone else, I believe GB, has said that there is no research that says BGH is a factor. Is it possible that it could be a factor and we don't know it yet?
Anything is possible What we know now, though, is that when BGH is ingested orally, it's broken down during digestion into amino acids and peptides, the basic cell building blocks that are in everything we eat. See this thread for more info: Bovine growth hormone
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:07 PM   #8
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As I said in the other thread, some have suggested a link to BGH, some to kids being overweight (BMI). They are just suggestions though, and opposing ones, and unless they can back them up with more studies or more conclusive facts than just observation they should not be given any more weight other than as something to consider and definitely something worth exploring.

Myself I lean towards a domino effect. Better nutrition leading to more kids being overweight as well as just plain having stronger bodies and stronger systems, higher levels of vitamins and minerals, leading to hitting puberty earlier. But I also think genetics do play a roll in that, and wouldn't rule out other factors such as BGH. For that matter, Lord knows what all we are doing and putting in our environment that could be having effects on us.

Questionable funding aside, Cornell's study concluded that long term studies were needed. That doesn't strike me as 'conclusive findings' but rather 'preliminary findings'. If your findings were conclusive, you wouldn't need additional studies to be sure. We have also seen many instances in the past where in the short term something was found to be safe or of no harm to us or the environment, only to find out in long term studies that it didn't remain true.

For this reason I would not rule out BGH as a contributing factor until the long term studies are concluded and they are able to remove the statement "more studies needed" and replace it with "conclusive findings".

Still, this has had no effect on how I purchase milk or other dairy, since there is a big difference between something causing harm and something being a contributing factor in early puberty (maybe).
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick2272 View Post
...Questionable funding aside, Cornell's study concluded that long term studies were needed. That doesn't strike me as 'conclusive findings' but rather 'preliminary findings'. If your findings were conclusive, you wouldn't need additional studies to be sure. ...

From the last paragraph of the Cornell link (emphasis is mine):

"While short-term studies have not indicated other effects of bGH (allergies or other effects), more long-term studies on possible effects of bGH are needed."

I read this as a statement related to only the side effects of BGH. I feel they answered the primary concern, the effect of BGH on human growth, conclusively.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:46 PM   #10
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I think as Alix said, there are many contributing factors to earlier puberty but it seems to me that what girls eat - good and bad - has the greatest impact on the numbers overall. It's true that "extra" body fat signals the body that reproduction is "safe", meaning enough stored fat for a developing fetus. But it's also true that too much body fat - true obesity - retards this and actually causes a delay or cessation in menstruation. There seems to be a BMI window that helps trigger puberty.

Inactivity I think plays a part. We know that women and girls who exercise heavily or are dedicated athletes often do not have regular periods. I have also read some research to suggest that our higher protein intake in North America may trigger earlier puberty. But genetics also figure in strongly, too. Generally girls who reach puberty at early ages such as 9 and 10 have mothers and grandmothers who also had relatively early puberties.

The main reason this is of great interest to me is that I believe it contributes to increasing numbers of teen pregnancies. Puberty triggers an instinctive and hormonally fueled interest in the opposite sex to ensure population. If you couple this with advertising and movies and music videos that glamorize and promote teen sexuality, it's a wonder to me that any of them manage to make it to 20 without at least one child in tow!
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