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: 5.3). 12/2002; 110(5):911-9. DOI: 10.1542/peds.110.5.911
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

Download full-text


Available from: Christine Schubert, Jun 03, 2014
  • Source
    • "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. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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 · 6.92 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "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). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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 · 3.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Latino adolescents generally had the lowest pubertal status scores compared with other racial/ethnic groups, a finding more prominent among females. Previous research with female urban adolescents found that Latino and White adolescents had similar rates of pubertal maturation (Sun et al. 2002; Chumlea et al. 2003; Biro et al. 2010). However, two of these studies used age at menarche as the marker for pubertal development and the other used clinician assessment of Tanner stage and both of these assessment methods of pubertal status have been shown to differ from the PDS (Dorn and Biro 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While sex and racial/ethnic differences in pubertal development have been noted, most of this research has been in urban areas. The purpose of this study is to examine demographic differences in pubertal status among a school-based sample of US rural adolescents aged 11-17 (n = 6425). Pubertal status was measured using the Pubertal Development Scale (PDS), a self-report scale of secondary sexual characteristics. This study compared pubertal status means by age, sex and race/ethnicity. At all ages, females had a higher mean pubertal status than males. Most racial/ethnic differences were between White and Black youth. Between the ages of 11 and 13, Black youth reported more advanced development than White youth. However, contrary to research with urban samples, this pattern of development reversed in later adolescence and the reversal was more prominent among males than females. Although there were no differences in pubertal status between White and Latino males, White females had higher mean levels of development than Latino females. Demographic patterns were both consistent with and different from previous research with urban adolescents, suggesting the need for comparison of demographic patterns of pubertal development in samples that include youth from urban and rural areas.
    Annals of Human Biology 11/2011; 39(1):84-7. DOI:10.3109/03014460.2011.632647 · 1.15 Impact Factor
Show more