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Study Links Girls' Weight with Early Puberty

UNDATED (WKRC) -- Girls continue to enter puberty earlier and the latest study suggests obesity may be a key trigger.

Researchers looked at a specific stage of breast development as the start of puberty. The median age was 9.7 years old in white, non-Hispanic girls. That's four months earlier than a 1997 study that was the first to document early puberty.

The new study found blacks continue to develop earlier than whites, reaching puberty at a median age of 8.8. The median is 9.3 for Hispanics and 9.7 for Asians. However, the median age for blacks has not changed since the 1997 study, while the medians for other races has changes.

Lead author of the study Frank Biro is the director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. He says the study finds BMI now supplants race as the number one factor in puberty.

Now they want to find out why girls are more obese. Researchers are looking at chemicals in the environment, as well as diet and physical activity.




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