Mildred Maisonet , PhD a , b , Krista Yorita Christensen , PhD b , Carol Rubin , DVM, MPH a , Adrianne Holmes , MPH a , W. Dana Flanders , MD, DSc a , b , Jon Heron , PhD c , Ken K. Ong , MD d , Jean Golding , PhD e , Michael A. McGeehin , PhD a , Michele Marcus , PhD a , b
09 August 2010
The objective of this study was to explore the influence of maternal prenatal characteristics and behaviors and of weight and BMI gain during early childhood on the timing of various puberty outcomes in girls who were enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
Repeated self-assessments of pubertal development were obtained from ~4000 girls between the ages of 8 and 14. Data on prenatal characteristics and weight at birth and 2,9, and 20 months of age were obtained from questionnaires, birth records, and clinic visits. Infants’ weights were converted to weight-for-age and BMI SD scores (SDSs; z scores), and change values were obtained for the 0- to 20-month and other intervals within that age range. We used parametric survival models to estimate associations with age of entry into Tanner stages of breast and pubic hair and menarche.
Maternal initiation of menarche at age <12, smoking during pregnancy, and primiparity were associated with earlier puberty. A 1-unit increase in the weight SDS change values for the 0-to 20-month age interval was associated with earlier ages of entry into pubertal outcomes (0.19–0.31 years). Increases in the BMI SDS change values were also associated with earlier entry into pubertal outcomes (0.07– 0.11 years).
Many of the maternal prenatal characteristics and weight and BMI gain during infancy seemed to have similar influences across different puberty outcomes. Either such early factors have comparable influences on each of the hormonal processes involved in puberty, or processes are linked and awakening of 1 aspect triggers the others.