National Estimates of the Timing of Sexual Maturation and Racial Differences Among US Children

The Lifespan Health Research Center Departments of Community Health, Pediatrics, and Mathematics and Statistics, Wright State University, School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio 45420, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 12/2002; 110(5):911-9. DOI: 10.1542/peds.110.5.911
Source: PubMed


To provide clinically meaningful, normative reference data that describe the timing of sexual maturity indicators among a national sample of US children and to determine the degree of racial/ethnic differences in these estimates for each maturity indicator.
Tanner staging assessment of sexual maturity indicators was recorded from 4263 non-Hispanic white, black, and Mexican American girls and boys aged 8.00 to 19.00 years as part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted between 1988 and 1994. NHANES III followed a complex, stratified, multistage probability cluster design. SUDAAN was used to calculate the mean age and standard error for each maturity stage and the proportion of entry into a maturity stage and to incorporate the sampling weight and design effects of the NHANES III complex sampling design. Probit analysis and median age at entry into a maturity stage and its fiducial limits were calculated using SAS 8.2.
Reference data for age at entry for maturity stages are presented in tabular and graphical format. Non-Hispanic black girls had an earlier sexual development for pubic hair and breast development either by median age at entry for a stage or for the mean age for a stage than Mexican American or non-Hispanic white girls. There were few to no significant differences between the Mexican American and non-Hispanic white girls. Non-Hispanic black boys also had earlier median and mean ages for sexual maturity stages than the non-Hispanic white and Mexican American boys.
Non-Hispanic black girls and boys mature early, but US children completed their sexual development at approximately the same ages. The present reference data for the timing of sexual maturation are recommended for the interpretation of assessments of sexual maturity in US children.

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Available from: Christine Schubert, Jun 03, 2014
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    • "narrow age range near the onset of puberty at time one assessment: 10–12 years in girls (mean 5 11.83 6 0.73) and 12–14 years in boys (mean 5 12.89 6 0.66). The asymmetry in ages was chosen because girls typically begin displaying physical pubertal characteristics earlier than boys [Herman-Giddens et al., 2012; Marshall and Tanner, 1969; Marshall and Tanner, 1970; Sun et al., 2002]. Neuroimaging data and pubertal maturation indices were collected again approximately 2 years later. "
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    ABSTRACT: It has been postulated that pubertal hormones may drive some neuroanatomical changes during adolescence, and may do so differently in girls and boys. Here, we use growth curve modeling to directly assess how sex hormones [testosterone (T) and estradiol (E2 )] relate to changes in subcortical brain volumes utilizing a longitudinal design. 126 adolescents (63 girls), ages 10 to 14, were imaged and restudied ∼2 years later. We show, for the first time, that best-fit growth models are distinctly different when using hormones as compared to a physical proxy of pubertal maturation (Tanner Stage) or age, to predict brain development. Like Tanner Stage, T and E2 predicted white matter and right amygdala growth across adolescence in both sexes, independent of age. Tanner Stage also explained decreases in both gray matter and caudate volumes, whereas E2 explained only gray matter decreases and T explained only caudate volume decreases. No pubertal measures were related to hippocampus development. Although specificity was seen, sex hormones had strikingly similar relationships with white matter, gray matter, right amygdala, and bilateral caudate volumes, with larger changes in brain volume seen at early pubertal maturation (as indexed by lower hormone levels), followed by less robust, or even reversals in growth, by late puberty. These novel longitudinal findings on the relationship between hormones and brain volume change represent crucial first steps toward understanding which aspects of puberty influence neurodevelopment. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 11/2014; 35(11). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22575 · 5.97 Impact Factor
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    • "This timing is not inconsequential, with long-lasting differences associated with early or late pubertal onset (e.g., Michaud, Suris, & Deppen, 2006; Negriff, Susman, & Trickell, 2010; Zehr, Culbert, Sisk, & Klump, 2007). Among children in the United States, the mean age of entering puberty in girls is approximately 11 years of age, continuing to completion by approximately 16 years of age, with this process delayed about a year on average in boys (Sun et al., 2002). In rats, the peri-pubertal period has been suggested to subsume the interval from about P30 to 40 in females and P35 to 55 in males (Ojeda & Skinner, 2006), with physical markers of sexual maturation observed from P32 to 34 and P45 to 48 in females and males, respectively (Lewis, Barnett, Freshwater, Hoberman, & Christian, 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: The extent to which characteristic adolescent behaviors are associated with pubertal changes or driven by more general, puberty-independent developmental alterations is largely unknown. Using physiological and hormonal markers of puberty, this experiment characterized pubertal timing across adolescence and examined the relationships among these variables and novelty-directed behaviors. Males and females were tested for response to novelty at P28, P32, P36, P40, P44, P48, and P75, and examined for balano-preputial skinfold separation and sperm presence (males) or vaginal opening (females), followed by blood collection for hormonal assessments. Despite earlier pubertal maturation in females, with maturation generally completed by P36 in females and P44 in males, novelty-directed behavior peaked at P32 and P36 in both sexes, and was unrelated to pubertal measures. These data support the suggestion that the ontogenetic peak in this behavior during adolescence is not notably puberty dependent.
    Developmental Psychobiology 07/2012; 54(5):523-35. DOI:10.1002/dev.20610 · 3.31 Impact Factor
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    • "Timing of pubertal onset among girls varies widely, with secondary sexual characteristics - the first observable signs of puberty - usually appearing around ages 10 to 11 years [8,9]. However, epidemiologic evidence confirms that certain pubertal markers are occurring earlier among girls in the U.S. than in the past, particularly onset of breast and pubic hair development [8,10-12]. In addition, there are marked disparities in pubertal timing across ethnic groups. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pubertal onset occurs earlier than in the past among U.S. girls. Early onset is associated with numerous deleterious outcomes across the life course, including overweight, breast cancer and cardiovascular health. Increases in childhood overweight have been implicated as a key reason for this secular trend. Scarce research, however, has examined how neighborhood environment may influence overweight and, in turn, pubertal timing. The current study prospectively examined associations between neighborhood environment and timing of pubertal onset in a multi-ethnic cohort of girls. Body mass index (BMI) was examined as a mediator of these associations. Participants were 213 girls, 6-8 years old at baseline, in an on-going longitudinal study. The current report is based on 5 time points (baseline and 4 annual follow-up visits). Neighborhood environment, assessed at baseline, used direct observation. Tanner stage and anthropometry were assessed annually in clinic. Survival analysis was utilized to investigate the influence of neighborhood factors on breast and pubic hair onset, with BMI as a mediator. We also examined the modifying role of girls' ethnicity. When adjusting for income, one neighborhood factor (Recreation) predicted delayed onset of breast and pubic hair development, but only for African American girls. BMI did not mediate the association between Recreation and pubertal onset; however, these associations persisted when BMI was included in the models. For African American girls, but not girls from other ethnic groups, neighborhood availability of recreational outlets was associated with onset of breast and pubic hair. Given the documented risk for early puberty among African American girls, these findings have important potential implications for public health interventions related to timing of puberty and related health outcomes in adolescence and adulthood.
    BMC Pediatrics 03/2012; 12(1):27. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-12-27 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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