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Unformatted text preview: August 9, 2010 First Signs of Puberty Seen in Younger Girls By DENISE GRADY A new study finds that girls are more likely today than in the past to start developing breasts by age 7 or 8. The research is just the latest in a flood of reports over the last decade that have led to concern and heated debate about whether girls are reaching puberty earlier, and why it might be happening. Increased rates of obesity are thought to play a major role, because body fat can produce sex hormones. Some researchers also suspect that environmental chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen may be speeding up the clock on puberty, but that idea is unproved. The issue is of concern for both medical and psychosocial reasons. Studies suggest that earlier puberty, as measured by the age at first menstruation, can slightly increase the risk of breast cancer , probably because it results in longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone , which can feed some tumors . Although the new study did not look at menstrual age, breast growth is also a sign of hormone exposure, and some researchers fear that early development might also mean an increased cancer risk. Socially and emotionally, life can be difficult for a girl who has a child’s mind in a woman’s body and is not ready to deal with sexual advances from men and boys, or cope with her own hormone-spiked emotions and sexual impulses. Reprints This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the "Reprints" tool that appears next to any article. Visit www.nytreprints.com for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now. “Our analysis shows clearly that the white participants entered puberty earlier than we...
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This note was uploaded on 10/14/2010 for the course ZOO 4125 taught by Professor Flanigan during the Fall '10 term at Univeristy of Wyoming- Laramie.
- Fall '10