U.S. girls entering puberty at younger age than in 1997

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The findings of a new study released Monday suggest girls in the United States are hitting puberty at younger ages than in 1997.

In a study published in Pediatrics, Dr. Frank Biro and his team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found girls across the country were developing sooner than shown in the previous study, which itself raised concerns at the time when it showed similar results.

According to Biro's team, approximately 10 percent of white girls and 23 percent of black girls now begin development at age 7. In 1997, the numbers were 5 and 15 percent.

The study also showed 18 percent of white girls and 42 percent of black girls entered puberty by age 8.

The research suggests weight as the most likely factor driving the trend.

The onset of puberty in girls is triggered by weight, and a rise in obesity rates among children is probably lowering the age of onset in U.S. girls, according to the researchers.

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