Advanced Pubertal Status at Age 11 and Lower Physical Activity in Adolescent Girls

Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.
The Journal of pediatrics (Impact Factor: 3.79). 12/2007; 151(5):488-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.04.017
Source: PubMed


To examine the relationship between pubertal timing and physical activity.
A longitudinal sample of 143 adolescent girls was assessed at ages 11 and 13 years. Girls' pubertal development was assessed at age 11 with blood estradiol levels, Tanner breast staging criteria, and parental report of pubertal development. Girls were classified as early maturers (n = 41) or later maturers (n = 102) on the basis of their scores on the 3 pubertal development measures. Dependent variables measured at age 13 were average minutes/day of moderate to vigorous and vigorous physical activity as measured by the ActiGraph accelerometer.
Early-maturing girls had significantly lower self-reported physical activity and accumulated fewer minutes of moderate to vigorous and vigorous physical activity and accelerometer counts per day at age 13 than later maturing girls. These effects were independent of differences in percentage body fat and self-reported physical activity at age 11.
Girls experiencing early pubertal maturation at age 11 reported lower subsequent physical activity at age 13 than their later maturing peers. Pubertal maturation, in particular early maturation relative to peers, may lead to declines in physical activity among adolescent girls.

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Available from: Kirsten K Davison, Mar 12, 2014
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    • "Ours is the only study that has used serial measures of menarchal status to categorise girls into relative maturity groups. Others have used recalled age of menarche (Sherar et al., 2009), Pubertal Development Scale (van Jaarsveld et al., 2007), estimated age at peak height velocity (Sherar et al., 2009; Wickel & Eisenmann, 2007; Wickel et al., 2009) and blood oestradiol and tanner staging combined (Baker et al., 2007). Interestingly though, each of these latter studies presented data in which the group of relatively more mature girls were marginally more active than the less mature girls (albeit differences did not achieve significance). "
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    • "In addition to controlling for age, analyses were stratified by sex to mitigate confounding by pubertal maturation because puberty begins and ends earlier in girls than in boys [24] and almost all girls are post pubescent by age 15 years [27]. Moreover, the follow-up time was divided into two periods, corresponding to earlier adolescence (mean age, 12.8 and 12.7 years at baseline) and later adolescence (mean age 15.2 and 15.1 years at baseline), in boys and girls, respectively, to increase the likelihood that findings from earlier adolescence in boys and those from later adolescence in girls would be less confounded by puberty. "
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    • "The body was used to demonstrate ability, used to gain social acceptance through its appearance, shape and size and at times, dictated PA choices and behaviours. Previous quantitative work (Baker et al. 2007, Knowles et al. 2009, Rodrigues et al. 2010) has shown the physical changes during adolescence to be associated with PA behaviour; yet, this has only been considered in the physical form. This study adds to our understanding of the importance of the embodiment transition in shaping the girls' sense of identity towards a stereotypical feminine identity rather than an active identity where PA is embedded into who you are and how you are viewed by others. "
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