Little Girls Are Hitting Puberty Scary Fast and Even Earlier Than We Feared

Health Check 2

Little girlIf I’ve noticed it, I know you’ve had to notice it, too. Girls sure are more… buxom nowadays, aren’t they?

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, I was a substitute teacher in Baltimore for a period while I figured out if I was going to finish grad school or move to New York and become an award-winning journalist. (I ultimately ended up doing neither. Womp womp.) I was assigned to elementary and high schools, and they had something in common—the girls were taller, shapelier, more statuesque than I was, even in heels and a Body by Victoria special.

There is something to be said about these girls developing early, though. Too early. Like an 8-year-old girl getting her period early.

A story on the Daily Mail says that little Atlanta Carson looks like the average second grader, but she’s already sprouted her first pubic hairs and had her first period. Her mother is understandably saddened by it. Childhood is supposed to be unfettered by the burdens of worrying about spotting through your pants and being doubled over with cramps and contorted by backaches.

I pity the poor little girl, too. I pity all little girls developing breasts and going through those awkward pre-womanhood body transformations seemingly too soon. I was one of the first in my class to have to trade in my undershirt and the freedom of running around bare-chested for a training bra and the leering looks of horny little third grade boys.

German researchers have found that every 10 years, the average age for the onset of puberty falls by four to five months. Studies conducted here in the U.S. have suggested that the process starts as young as 7 years old for 10 percent of white girls and 23 percent of black girls (regardless of their weight).

Of course, everything from hormones in our foods to chemicals in our personal care products has been blamed for this epidemic of early onset puberty. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what triggers it in every girl. But we've got to protect them because what's going on physically doesn't mean they're able to handle it mentally or emotionally. 

Have you taken extra precautions in your household to keep external factors from launching your daughter’s puberty process?


Image via Danielle Moler/Flickr

girls, kid health, kids nutrition, puberty