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24 April 2007
Age Of Menstruation Linked To Offspring Obesity

Appearing in the journal PLoS Medicine, a new study has found a link between the age a mother commenced menstruation and the likelihood of obesity in her children. The researchers, from the Medical Research Council and University of Cambridge, say that the age when a woman's periods start may affect her children's growth rate during childhood, final height and risk of obesity in later life.

The study was based on tracking more than 6,000 children from the UK Avon Longitudinal Study. It details how the children of women whose periods started earlier had a faster growth tempo, characterized by rapid weight gain and growth, particularly during infancy, which led to taller childhood stature. However, such a pattern of childhood growth is likely to result in earlier maturation and therefore shorter adult stature. This growth pattern is also known to confer an increased risk of childhood and adult obesity.

"Earlier age at menarche may indicate a transgenerational influence toward a faster tempo of childhood growth, which is transmitted from the mother to her offspring," say the researchers.

Related articles:
Parents Oblivious To Their Children's Weight Problems
Early Sexual Development, Childhood Obesity Link
U.S. Life Expectancy Set To Decline

Source: Public Library of Science (PLoS)


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