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More Girls Start Puberty Sooner, Like Age 7

Aug 9, 2010

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Reported by

Frank James

Some fairly troubling health news Monday. A study showed an increase in the rate of young girls, that is really young girls, undergoing puberty. Like age 7.

As NPR's Shots blogger Scott Hensley reports:

Some 10 percent of 7-year-old white girls were developing breasts compared to 5 percent more than 10 years ago, researchers found. For young black girls, early maturation was seen in 25 percent of 7-year-olds, also an increase from previous studies.

The results come from a study of more than 1,000 girls in three American cities. Researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital who led the work say the rise in early puberty is linked to the rise in obesity in U.S. children, but they also say environment and genetics may be factors.

NPR's Brenda Wilson reported on All Things Considered, this has raised concerns of breast cancers striking some of these girls in later years because of their earlier exposure to higher estrogen levels.

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