Using data from the UK Millenium Cohort Study Prof Yvonne Kelly and colleagues from University College London examine the associations between early puberty in adolescent girls and ethnicity, adiposity and psychosocial stress. Their study reveals that in the UK girls from socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and some ethnic minority groups are most likely to have early onset puberty. Their modelling for associations revealed excess adiposity and psychosocial stress among girls from low income backgrounds was associated with early onset puberty, and that poverty and adiposity were associated, to varying degrees, with early puberty in girls from Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black African backgrounds. This study adds significantly to our understanding of current trends in the timing of the onset of puberty, but still many questions remain unanswered and in an accompanying editorial Dr Ken Ong, Cambridge University reflects on how the work of Prof Kelly and colleagues informs our understanding of the biological and environmental forces which influence the timing of puberty.
Ong KK What triggers puberty? Archives of Disease in Childhood 2017;102:209-210
Kelly Y, Zilanawala A, Sacker A, et al Early puberty in 11-year-old girls: Millennium Cohort Study findings Archives of Disease in Childhood 2017;102:232-237.