Aug 9, 2010
Girls in the United States are entering puberty at earlier ages than they have in the past, a new study reports.
Experts aren’t sure what’s behind the increase in earlier puberty, but it’s likely due to a combination of factors, including the childhood obesity epidemic and substances in the environment.
Chemicals in the environment — most notably bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in many hard plastic products — may affect hormones as well, says Gary Berkovitz, M.D., a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
A girl’s experience in infancy and even in the womb may also contribute to earlier puberty, according to a second study that appears in the same issue of Pediatrics.