Diet, Body Size Influence Age of Menarche, Adolescent Growth
More evidence continues to accumulate relating lifestyle and diet as children to diseases later in life. Considering the poor state of our children’s diet and increase in processed and fast food, can we still continue to delude ourselves into believing that our lifespans will actually increase over the next few decades?
Am J Epidemiol 2000;152:446-52 Diet and body size in early childhood influence the age at which girls achieve menarche as well as their growth during adolescence. “Menarche occurred earlier in girls who were taller and who consumed more (age- and calorie-adjusted) animal protein and less vegetable protein as early as ages 3 to 5 years,” the investigators report. The girls experienced their peak height growth at a mean age of 11.12 years, and the mean peak growth velocity was 7.99 cm/year, Dr. Berkey’s team determined. Peak velocity was noted at a younger age among girls who consumed higher levels of fat than average between ages 1 and 2 years, ate more animal protein than average between ages 6 and 8 years, or were taller than average before they were 6 years of age. The risk of some adult diseases is thought to be influenced by adolescent growth and development factors, the researchers note, “and this paper suggests that several adolescent factors might be modifiable by dietary changes in young children.”