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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    • "Although expectations regarding the frequency and nature of sexualized behaviors change between childhood and adolescence , the line between childhood and adolescence is variable. For example, although the age at which children cross into adolescence is commonly marked by the onset of puberty, this age is variable across racial groups (Sun et al., 2002), and has decreased over time (Addo, Miller, Lee, Hediger, & Himes, 2014). Despite the prevalence of sexualized behaviors in childhood and adolescence, the research regarding NSB in children is relatively limited, and variations in the operationalization of NSB are common. "
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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.
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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). "

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