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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    • "Pubertal status is influenced by ethnicity: African American boys and girls begin puberty before White boys and girls whether assessed by stage of breasts/genitals or pubic hair (Sun et al., 2002). Overweight and obesity are more prevalent among African American girls (41.3%) and boys (36.9%) compared to White youth (27.9%) (Ogden et al., 2012). "

    American Journal of Human Biology 01/2013; · 1.70 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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