The Endocrine Society, an international community of physicians and scientists dedicated to the research and treatment of hormone disorders, has highlighted a recently released study co-authored by DLH researchers. The paper, titled “Longitudinal investigation of pubertal milestones and hormones as a function of body fat in girls,” was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and was led by Natalie D. Shaw, M.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). DLH’s John A. McGrath, Gary Larson, and Christian Douglas served as co-authors.
Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that overweight and obese girls undergo thelarche and menarche, markers of puberty, earlier than normal weight girls, but no longitudinal study had specifically investigated the relationship between body weight and clinical and biochemical pubertal markers in girls.
90 girls aged 8.2 to 14.7 years took part in the four year study. Periodic visits included total body fat measurements, Tanner staging (a classification system used to track development during puberty), breast ultrasound for morphological staging, pelvic ultrasound, hormone tests, and assessment of menarcheal status. The effect of total body fat on pubertal markers was determined using a mixed, multi-state, or Cox proportional hazards model, controlling for baseline breast morphology.
The data found that girls with higher total body fat were more likely to have menarche, the first occurrence of menstruation, at a younger age, but also slower breast development, compared with those with normal total body fat. Further research is needed to examine the underlying causes and consequences of this disparity.
More information is available via PubMed.