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Why Are Girls Reaching Puberty Earlier And Earlier?

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By: Saumya Bajaj

In 2010, a study was published that found that more and more girls are reaching puberty earlier and earlier, sometimes by the age of 6 or 7. This is also known as precocious puberty. This can cause bones to fuse early and cause them to  be shorter than their genetics originally indicated. In, face, people who go through this are more likely to a have a myriad of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, eating disorders, and depression, along with being more likely to abuse substances.

So, why is this happening more and more? First of all, it’s important to note that it might just be genetics, so knowing when your mom hit puberty is helpful in know whether or not it actually happened to you. One reason might be the obesity epidemic in America. Body fat encourages the release of estrogen, so it makes sense that girls with higher BMIs tend to hit puberty earlier than normal. Diet is also a big part of this as well.

Emotional stress can also be a stressor. (I’m not sorry for my puns.) Girls with parents who have a bad marriage or have an untreated mental illness also tend to reach puberty earlier than other girls.

These reasons have led researchers to conclude that reaching puberty early is a result of evolution, an effect of their surrounding environment. This has many physical and psychological damages on a girl, though, so it is imperative for scientists to find a concrete reason for this.