Puberty age can affect people's risk of developing diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer as well as onset of menopause, researchers say.
Researchers from the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the university of Cambridge, United Kingdom analyzed data from the UK Biobank of about half a million people.
The researchers examined the onset of puberty in boys and girls and grouped them accordingly.
For girls, early puberty was between the ages of eight and 11. Late puberty was between the ages of 15 and 19. For boys, normal puberty was between the ages of nine and 14.
The team linked early and late puberty to conditions and diseases such as cancers (breast and cervical), heart attacks, angina, hypertension, early menopause, preeclampsia, stillbirth, asthma, obesity, depression and glaucoma.
People who went through puberty early had around 50 percent higher risks for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, women and men who went through puberty late had a higher risk of developing asthma.
Lead author, Dr Felix Day, said, "From a biological point of view, it's actually quite fascinating that something that happens when you're a teenager can have an effect on diseases that you wouldn't encounter until middle age. I find that quite astonishing. The move towards earlier puberty is an added risk factor in terms of development of particularly metabolic diseases."
The researchers said that puberty age affects the conditions via hormones and concluded that puberty age altered people's odds of developing certain diseases.
Dr. John Perry, from the MRC Epidemiology Unit, "We are continuing to work to understand how puberty timing impacts later health and how this information may be used alongside efforts to support healthy lifestyle changes and prevent disease. It is important to note that the increase in disease risk attributable to puberty timing is still relatively modest and represents one of many factors that contribute to the overall risk of developing disease."
The study is published in Scientific Reports.