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.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Self-report measures of perceived pubertal timing correspond only weakly with clinical measures of "objective" physical development. Peer and school contexts shape adolescents' self-perceptions of pubertal timing. The current study examined associations between perceived pubertal timing and the pubertal timing reported by nominated friends and schoolmates. Participants included 2817 adolescents (Mage = 16.6; 49 % female; 16 % Black; 20 % Hispanic) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Three measures of pubertal timing were included: age-standardized ratings of body changes, comparisons of development relative to peers (relative timing), and, in females, age at menarche. It was hypothesized that relative timing, which explicitly asks adolescents to compare themselves to their peers, would be related to the age-standardized pubertal timing of nominated friends and schoolmates. Surprisingly, there were no associations between relative timing and age-standardized pubertal timing reported by peers, suggesting that pubertal self-perceptions do not fluctuate in response to the average level of development in a friend group. Instead, males were similar to nominated friends and schoolmates in age-standardized ratings of body changes, and females were similar to nominated friends in relative timing, controlling for race, ethnicity, and age. Different self-report measures of pubertal timing index different underlying constructs, and the social processes that influence adolescents' perceptions of pubertal maturation may differ between genders.
    Journal of Youth and Adolescence 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10964-015-0275-3 · 2.72 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Age at pubertal onset varies substantially in healthy girls. Although genetic factors are responsible for more than half of the phenotypic variation, only a small part has been attributed to specific genetic polymorphisms identified so far. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates ovarian follicle maturation and estradiol synthesis which is responsible for breast development. We assessed the effect of three polymorphisms influencing FSH action on age at breast deveopment in a population-based cohort of 964 healthy girls. Girls homozygous for FSHR -29AA (reduced FSH receptor expression) entered puberty 7.4 (2.5-12.4) months later than carriers of the common variants FSHR -29GG+GA, p = 0.003. To our knowledge, this is the strongest genetic effect on age at pubertal onset in girls published to date.
    Scientific Reports 09/2014; 4:6412. DOI:10.1038/srep06412 · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adolescents engage in more risky behavior when they are with peers and show, on average, heightened susceptibility to peer influence relative to children and adults. However, individual differences in susceptibility to peer influence are not well understood. The current study examined whether the effect of peers on adolescents' risky decision making was moderated by pubertal status. Participants (58 youth, ages 11-16, 50% male, 63.9% African American) completed a computerized measure of risky decision making, once alone and once in the presence of two peers. Pubertal status was assessed using self-report. Adolescents made riskier decisions in the presence of peers, and more advanced pubertal development predicted greater risky decision making, controlling for chronological age. The effect of peer presence on risky decision making was attenuated for adolescents with more advanced pubertal development. These findings suggest that the presence of peers may override biologically based individual differences in propensity for risk taking.
    The Journal of Early Adolescence 02/2013; 34(3):339-359. DOI:10.1177/0272431613489373 · 2.30 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 3, 2014