Early puberty linked with obesity

A girl is examined by a doctor.


Kai Ryssdal: Yet another study out today confirmed girls are reaching puberty earlier -- way earlier, like around seven or eight. Aside from the minefield of social dilemmas these kids may have to sidestep, early development like that is linked to obesity. And over time, medical issues linked to obesity hit national health care costs on the order of billions of dollars.

Janet Babin reports now from North Carolina Public Radio.

Janet Babin: Researchers don't know precisely what's behind early onset puberty, but they have an idea.

Dr. Susan Pinney at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine was one of the study's investigators. She says early puberty is tied to the growing epidemic of obesity in children.

Susan Pinney: Our analyses showed that as a group, girls who were obese definitely tended to enter puberty earlier.

That's dangerous to the girl's health and to the national economy. Justin Trogdon is an economist at research institute RTI International. He says people who suffer from obesity spend an average of $1,400 more each year on health care than people who are not as overweight.

Justin Trogdon: It works out to about $147 billion per year.

Most of those increased costs pay for treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And obesity raises the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Trogdon: If children are developing obesity earlier, it makes it all that more likely that they'll develop those kinds of conditions, like diabetes, and heart disease and potentially cancers at an earlier age, and that can impact costs for the entire nation as we look forward.

The study's authors also documented more than 100 different chemicals in the girls' blood, and expect to publish those results shortly. The Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers helped pay for the study, published in the journal Pediatrics.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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I worked with mothers of young gils withthis growth hormone problem,The girls were having to get hormone shots to revert the fast growth of there bones breasts. These 7 and 8 year old girls were scared to death not knowing what is happing to them? The shots coasts 2800.00 to 4500.00,most insurance companys wont cover this and this cost is per month for the revert hormone shots. Yes i do very much beleive that it is due to the meat,poutry,veggs,fruits,fast foods. the goverment isnt going to tell you the truth that would make the obama and passed goverments look BAD. Poisoning the american childern and families of this great nation.It could be a GOD given RIGHT in this country to make sure the food we are all eating is free from poisoned goverment money and also the water keeping it clean to drink.

Why blame food additives, really? (hardly the primary villain, here)

If anything, people are eating LESS raw food with additives. They are surely drinking less milk. Beef and pork consumption per capita is less than ten yrs ago.

Presumption, alone, keeps the 'added chemical' boogey man concerns going, here.

If you would see the vast growth in the number of girls who reach 200# by middle school, you might consider the 'non-parenting' factor. Surely, I've seen lots of fat kids who are clearlly eating lots of junk foods--but I'd argue that VOLUME of intake is the primary culprit, by far.

Estrogen is fat soluble and when the girls hit 100# the grown up lady things start to happen.

Sadly, they are often reaching this at age 8 or 9....

and the black and brown girls hit this target more often than the white girls, as are indicated by the medical reports

Your reporting totally misses the point! Whie it is interesting to realize a potential problem down the road, the real question should be why is this occuring!
Maybe the hormones in our food supply? Or maybe the gentically modified foods are modifying our children!

Early puberty is because of all the Hormones they feed the cattle , which in turn ends up in the milk kids have to drink from babyhood on up! NOT from obesity! Whose pockets are these doctors in? The farmers and the Government obviously.

I heard this story on the radio. Yes, I'm old school. And I couldn't help but wonder what the music break had to do with this story about girls entering puberty earlier because of obesity and the problems they'll face as they age. Please don't make me sing the words to Morrissey's "The more you ignore me, the closer I get" after listening to a story about these poor girls. It makes me sick.

I'll tell you what's causing this. It's all those drugs the factory farms are pumping into the animals we eat. Oh! and all the chemicals they spray onto our food.

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