Early Puberty on the Rise

Early Puberty on the Rise
Blog Categories

Young children are reaching puberty earlier with the average age dropping from 15 a century ago to 12 today. About 1 in a 1000 young boys and girls are experiencing puberty as early as 8 or 9 years old. Early onset puberty (also known as precocious puberty) has a number of troubling side effects which include a greater risk of anxiety and depression, eating disorders, thyroid problems and cancer.

When early-onset puberty happens to boys, their physical growth has to compete for resources; puberty wins out and that may mean they are much shorter than they should be. Boys who mature faster are at a greater risk of testicular cancer in later life.

Research shows that one of the biggest contributing factors to early puberty is the endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in our foods, in plastics and in personal care products like shampoos and cosmetics.

Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals

Your endocrine system releases hormones which regulate the functioning of your organs, growth and development. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals either block or mimic our hormones and prevent normal growth and development and interrupt the proper functioning of vital organs.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are insidious and can be found in everything from shower curtains to canned food. You can find a comprehensive list of endocrine disruptors here.

These chemicals are a contributing factor in precocious puberty. A study by the Korean Institute of Science and Technology found that “these six substances (MBP, t-OP, n-NP, daidzein, equol, and genistein) have an effect on precocious puberty.”

You can reduce the amount of endocrine-disruptors in your home by choosing organic foods and avoiding canned foods, fast food and food that has been treated with chemical pesticides.

Sugary Drinks

Another contributing factor to precocious puberty is the consumption of soda and other sugary drinks. In a Harvard study of 5,600 girls, it was discovered that those girls who consumed 1.5 servings or more of soda and other sugary drinks a day had their first menstrual cycle 2.7 months earlier than those who consumed two sugary drinks a week or less.

From the study: “Starting periods early is a risk factor for depression during adolescence and breast cancer during adulthood. Thus, our findings have implications beyond just starting menstruation early.” High sugar intake has been linked to a number of behavior issues like aggression and problems concentrating as well as depression and anxiety.


Obesity has also been singled out as a contributing factor to precocious puberty. A recent study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center of 1,200 girls from 2004 and 2011 discovered that obesity contributed significantly to early puberty. From the study: “The girls who are obese are clearly maturing earlier,” said Biro. “BMI is, we found, the biggest single factor for the onset of puberty.”

Healthy diets high in organic fruits and vegetables and free of sugary drinks, processed foods and fast food is the best way to ensure that your children develop normally. You can also opt for household goods and personal care products that are free of BPA, Phthalates and other known endocrine-disruptors.

More Posts Like This
  • Celebrating Influential Women in Education During Women's History Month

    March 1st marked the beginning of Women’s History Month! All of us here at Tutor Doctor would like to thank the many magnificent women that have changed the way we look at education. Here are some influential women in education that we’d like to thank for making the world a better place!

    Read More
  • 3 Steps to Help International Students Get into the American University of Their Dreams

    America is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the world. For international students, the process of applying and getting accepted to a school in the United States can be complicated and confusing. Thankfully, some simple steps can help get you moving in the right direction toward an acceptance from your top choice.

    Read More
  • Thinking with the End in Mind – Keep Goals in Sight

    This blog post provides a great summary of a chapter from our recently published book, Academic Success Formula: How ordinary students get extraordinary results. The chapter was written by Ashley Mulcahy, a Tutor Doctor franchisee out of Orange County, California, who has more than 100 tutors in 20 cities.

    Read More