Obesity hastens puberty
Girls are not the only ones who go through puberty early if they have obesity. Boys with obesity enter puberty at an earlier age than average. Boys aged 4 to 7 years, having both total body obesity and central obesity, or excess belly fat, were associated with greater odds of starting puberty before age 9, according to researchers from the University of Chile in Santiago. Early puberty - called precocious puberty - is linked to possible problems including stunted growth and emotional-social problems.
Precocious puberty reportedly occurred in 9 per cent. Total obesity and central obesity from ages 4 to 7 raised the odds of early puberty compared with having a healthy weight.
Early puberty might increase the risk of behaviour problems and in boys could be related to a higher incidence of testicular cancer in adulthood. Controlling the obesity epidemic in children could be useful in decreasing these risks.