Sunday, April 17, 2016

Timing is Everything, Including Puberty

Children get a lot of things from their parents through genetics, including eye color, height, and even when they start to hit puberty. A study done by Dr. ChristienWohfahrt-Veje- a growth and development researcher at the University of Copenhagen- collected data over seven years from boys and girl’s medical records to find out when the children hit puberty. This was correlated back to their mothers and father’s recollection of when they first hit puberty. Through this study they have found that the fathers that were early had sons that tended to develop pubic hair almost a year earlier than other boys whose fathers hit puberty later. They also saw that this same correlation was true for the growth of enlarged testes which was about 10 months earlier. The mothers of the early bloomers also had contributed to their sons early puberty. The mothers that developed earlier had sons that had genital maturation about seven months earlier than the boys that had mothers that developed later. Girls also had their mothers and fathers contribute to how early they were hitting puberty. Fathers that developed early did have daughter that started their menstruation cycle about 11 months’ sooner than the girls that had fathers that developed later. Mothers that matured earlier typically had daughters that experienced their menstruation cycle about 10 months earlier. Although genetics plays apart in how soon or late children hit puberty, the environment has to be accounted for as well.
Environmental factors have been more influential on the girls than the boys. Early breast development in girls did not appear to be correlated to how early their fathers were hitting puberty. In recent studies it has been show that children in general are hitting puberty at earlier ages than pervious years, especially the girls. This seems to be true in the more developed countries than non developed countries. Due to these observations researchers believe that the environment like diet, obesity and chemicals are the causes.
These children that are early bloomers may see some disadvantages and problems as they grow older. For example, they are at risk of being obese as adults as well as hitting some social and emotional problems including early encounters with sex. These children can also be shorter than average because they hit a growth spurt early than average in which their growing cycle stops earlier than everyone else. All of these observations and correlations could be flawed due to the information that was received from the parents. The parents could have not given the correct timing of their puberty, as well as there were mothers that submitted their timings than men. However from the information that the researchers did receive, they can infer that the kids that developed earlier most likely came from a long line of that developed earlier.

This is interesting because I have heard about the environment starting to become a big factor in the early development of children. Though I am not much older than "generation z", I have seen over the years these kids developing earlier and earlier. Due to this increase I have also seen the kids that are developing earlier start to act as if they were actually the age they should have been when they hit puberty (about 7th and 8th grade). As the study said the environment seems to effect the girls more than the boys. I wonder when their children will hit puberty at an early age or not, and if so how long is that pattern going to go and will their be an age limitation?

1 comment:

  1. As you pointed out, although we are not much older than Generation Z (I miss it by 4yrs), it definitely seems that they all act much older compared to how I remember me and other classmates acting when we were there age. However, I've always figured it was a combination of environmental factors, such as added hormones/chemicals in food and social media. I've never thought though that this could be due to the pattern/influence of the offspring's parents having earlier and earlier puberty. However, I wonder if it will just progressively get younger and younger or if it will eventually halt at a certain age?