A number of studies conducted by medical researchers over the past few years have confirmed that the onset of puberty in girls is much earlier than it used to be. Though statistics vary, it appears that twice as many females are showing breast development and other signs of puberty by the age of 7 as were reported even ten years ago. This situation is of major concern to childcare professionals for several reasons, and pinpointing the cause has been the goal of many other studies.
Most of the recent surveys indicate that obesity in early childhood is one of the most crucial factors, based on the fact that the production of oestrogen is facilitated by fat cells in the body.
This in turn is connected to the theory that Nature delays the reproductive ability until the female body has enough fat to sustain both mother and child. To over- simplify, when a child is overweight or obese at an early age, even the first year, the ability to reproduce is accelerated.
The dangers in ‘too-early’ pubescence range from the physical to the psychological, and with the dramatic increase in childhood obesity, this trend is considered a severe health crisis in the paediatric community.