Poverty could mean early puberty, yet another study shows.
US scientists set out to evaluate the association between childhood socioeconomic status (SES) at two time points and age at menarche in a multiracial sample of girls.
Their study population consisted of a cohort of female participants enrolled at birth at the New York site of the Collaborative Perinatal Project, They were all born during the period 1959-1963. SES at birth, at age 7, and change between birth and age 7 were measured prospectively through an index score of family income, paternal occupation, and education. Data on age at menarche were collected retrospectively through adult self-report.
The Boston researchers used multivariable linear regression to examine the association between SES and age at menarche after adjusting for childhood body mass index (BMI) and other covariates associated with age at menarche.
After adjustment, SES at age 7 was positively associated with age at menarche.. Change in SES was significantly associated with age at menarche; a 20-unit decrease in SES was associated with a 4-month decrease in age at menarche.
Our results suggest that lower SES at 7 years and reductions in SES in early childhood are both associated with an earlier age at menarche, observe Tamarra James-Todd, PhD of the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston and others in their report published in the Annals of Epidemiology.