The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has sounded a new warning over the childhood obesity epidemic. They say that not only can obesity trigger early development in girls; it can also lead to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder with symptoms that can include weight gain, acne, excess body hair and irregular or non-existent periods. If left undiagnosed, PCOS can cause serious complications, including metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. It is also the leading cause of female infertility, and puts women at increased certain cancers and heart disease.
John Nestler, of the AACE, said the health implications were very worrying. "This unfolding epidemic is putting girls as young as eleven years old at risk for serious health complications. PCOS usually was diagnosed when women in their twenties and thirties could not conceive but now AACE has addressed the issue of how to diagnose and treat such young people for PCOS and its complications."
According to the AACE, 10 percent of reproductive-age women have PCOS. "PCOS is treatable, but not curable, with medications, diet and exercise. Early detection and careful management by an endocrinologist can prevent many serious PCOS-related complications from occurring," said Rhoda H. Cobin of the AACE.