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Old 10-20-2012, 11:17 PM   #1
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Studies Show Boys Entering Puberty Earlier Along With Girls

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Puberty is one of the biggest, and often most awkward, changes that boys go through, and a new study shows it starts six months to two years earlier than previous data indicated. The findings raise concerns about the cause of the change and how boys could be affected by a sped-up timeline.
"Our question was, 'What's actually going on currently?' The data that was out there was old and of questionable validity," said Dr. Richard Wasserman, an author of the study and director of Pediatric Research in Office Settings at the American Academy of Pediatrics. "My interest [as a doctor] is, 'How do I know what's normal for boys?'"
In recent years, studies have drawn attention to early-onset puberty in girls in the U.S., including a 2010 paper that found more girls begin breast development at age 7 or 8 than a decade earlier. But the new study, published online in the journal Pediatrics on Saturday, is among the first to look at the issue in American boys.
"We had done the girl study," Wasserman said. "Now it was, 'Let's do a study with boys.'"
Some 200 health care providers in 41 states tracked signs of puberty among more than 4,000 boys. Puberty typically begins with the growth of the testicles and penis, followed by the appearance of body hair, muscle growth and the deepening or dropping of the voice.
On average, white and Hispanic boys began to show signs of puberty when they were just over 10 years old, while African-American boys tended to start puberty slightly earlier -- at just over 9 years old. These findings were compared to data from the 1970s that, to date, has served as the standard for health care professionals. The onset of puberty began six months to two years earlier than the previous averages.
"The question is, 'What's going on here?'" Wasserman said. "Is it nutrition -- either better nutrition or over-nutrition? Is there something in the environment?"
Boys Entering Puberty Up To 2 Years Earlier, Study Says


I find it disturbing and sad that children are developing into adults at a younger age. Even if it happens to only 25% of young kids, I still think its an issue worth looking into. Pardon the TMI, but I began to develop at an early age and it was awkward walking around with a woman's body when I was still a child in many ways, so that is probably why I am concerned about this issue.

I think obesity may be part of the problem. I wasn't obese as a kid, but a girl in my 4th grade class was. Halfway through the year, she began bringing a small shoulder bag to school during certain times of the month.

But I've also heard nutrition may be a cause, with people eating better. But did nature intend for puberty to begin so young for humans, and end childhood much sooner?

Finally, I've heard some suggest that the oversaturation of sex in our society is the problem. Seeing scantily clad women in ads, magazine covers and on TV supposedly triggers something in the brain and that makes it create the hormones to start puberty. I remember reading a NY Times magazine article years ago that suggested girls react to sexualized women in the media this way because its related to women having the same menstrual cycles when they're around each other often. I don't think whoever wrote that article was a biologist, so I'm not paying much attention to that theory.

Anyway, I think its important to look into why some children are developing too early. A child needs to be a child as long as possible, and not be turning into a physical adult before they enter junior high.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:56 AM   #2
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Hormones in food-that's supposedly one reason

Puberty is difficult enough, must be even more so when it happens at such a young age. All the more reason for parents and other adults to help kids along and stay involved.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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There is no proof that hormones in food make it into the blood stream. It's been suggested that they have caused early puberty, but that isn't supported by any evidence. The leading candidate is higher caloric intake by today's children than by those in the past. Everything isn't doom and gloom
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #4
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Is it bad to go through puberty earlier? Like, will you die younger?
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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Studies suggest that it could lead to an increased risk for breast cancer
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Liesje
Is it bad to go through puberty earlier? Like, will you die younger?
I would think it's not psychologically good to develop so early. Those who do can be teased by their peers.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:55 AM   #7
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You can also be teased for being small and scrawny.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:07 AM   #8
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Precisely. I was still under 5-feet tall at the age of 15, which is extremely small. It was an awkward time.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:30 AM   #9
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Even so, I don't think its good for a kid to go through puberty earlier than they expect. I might be speaking too much from experience, but it was not pleasant for me to begin developing in 4th grade.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:38 AM   #10
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The other side isn't quite great either. To be flat until highschool..

So I doubt it makes any difference that kids reach puberty earlier. There will still be a range, and people will still be teased and bullied.

The same psychological factors will always be around.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:46 PM   #11
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Kids are shitty. If you didn't develop early, you can be sure they'll find something else to tease you about
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:00 PM   #12
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Even so, I don't think its good for a kid to go through puberty earlier than they expect. I might be speaking too much from experience, but it was not pleasant for me to begin developing in 4th grade.
i'm not trying to be blunt or rude here but i think you're taking this story way too personally. i'm sorry you got bullied for that. i was bullied for other things too, not for developing early but i do sympathise. bullies suck, if you don't fit in in the slightest way they'll find some way to tease you. that's just how they are. it's not right, but that's how things are. but you can't take these things personally and expect children to almost be put in some kind of bottle or something and stay young as long as possible. this article, to me, is just stating children are entering puberty earlier than they used to but shows no definite links to anything. maybe more research is needed. who knows, maybe it's just evolution. maybe soon hitting puberty at ten and living to 90 will be the norm.
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