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Unease Over Girls And Early Puberty

Girls hitting puberty at 8, 9.  Very young.  We’ll ask why.

Are girls reaching puberty earlier? (Yves Hanoulle/flickr)

Are girls reaching puberty earlier? (Yves Hanoulle/flickr)

In American families with girls, daughters, the hot topic is early puberty and the sense that everything’s happening younger.  The signs of maturation, the physical changes, coming before age ten.  At nine.  At eight.  Earlier.

It’s by no means universal.  It’s not a problem for everyone.  Puberty itself is hard to define.

But bring it on early and the unease is palpable.  What does this mean?  Why has it happened?  What are the implications?

This hour, On Point:  the big unease over early puberty in girls.

Obesity can be a factor.  We’ll also look at the Vogue editor who denied food to her seven-year-old daughter.

-Tom Ashbrook


Elizabeth Weill, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine.  Author of the article “Puberty Before Age 10: A ‘New Normal’?

Dr. Louise Greenspan, pediatric endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco

C Segment: Tiger Mom Dieting

Cynthia Bulik, director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina’s Department of Psychiatry.  Author of: “The Woman in The Mirror.”

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “One day last year when her daughter, Ainsley, was 9, Tracee Sioux pulled her out of her elementary school in Fort Collins, Colo., and drove her an hour south, to Longmont, in hopes of finding a satisfying reason that Ainsley began growing pubic hair at age 6.”

Babble Blog Breast growth at age 5? Stop!  That can’t be a THING…  Can it? It can. As Strollerderby has previously reported, girls as young as 7 are documented as having had their period.

Salon “It began with a feature called “Weight Watchers” in the April Vogue, written by Dara-Lynn Weiss. In it, Weiss chronicles her then 7-year-old daughter Bea’s dieting odyssey after the child had “grown fat.” It was a tale that involved putting Bea — who at 4-foot-4 and 93 pounds was veering toward childhood obesity — on an intense regimen of calorie restriction and public shaming.”

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  • JustSayin

    Careful folks. Fascism is the rule, and its illegal to defame (well — those bovine animals), or even to photograph high density feed lots. You know those pretreatment pens where most of Americas antibiotics, and hormones are injected into animals who’s natural diet is cellulose, but they start to die from being fed corn.

    Even 40 years ago everyone knew the problems of fattening animals before slaughter. Before corporations started doing it, fattening was considered a criminal act — when done by individuals.  

  • aj

    The average American girl experience’s their first menstrual bleeding(w/o ovulation) at about 12 1/2; while the UK and Canada is at 13!  Does this have to do with food(hormones in meat,GMO’s not labeled,pesticides&herbicides)regulations in this country that are for the corporation’s profits; while in Europe the regulations and agricultur sector are much more consumer friendly.

    Or is this because the U.S. has many more minority young females, who are increasingly getting their first period before age 11 even!!

    Many healthy(not impoverished) females don’t get their first, even irregular! mense until after age 14th birthday!

    Shouldn’t the focus of studies of cause be focused on the poor and minority females who seem to be skewing the age earlier and earlier than other caucasian countries?  And if so, is it enviornment (yes) rather than genetic? 

    • Anonymous

      Canada is very GMO friendly- so your off base with that one. Canola, corn, round-up ready crops galore. Labeling something that is already safe doesn’t make it more safe.
      It has to be the estrogen!! Plastics, lined cans…

      • JustSayin

         Cattle are given estrogen to literally fatten them up.

  • RolloMartins

    Studies have shown particles with estrogen-like activity on virtually everything we come into contact with now in the environment. Even BPA-free items have estrogen activity (some even more potent than BPA items). See: 

  • Patrik

    8? 9?  That is crazy.  I always thought it was 12 or 13 year olds appearing like they were 20.  Something is definitely amiss whether it’s evolution or chemicals in our environment.  Will be listening carefully.

  • Hidan

    One theory I heard was that this maybe due to all the junk and chemicals in our foods.  any merit to such claims?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EASY to compare them to children in areas that DO NOT have them?

    • Steve

       I would bet a lot of it has to do with the hormones used in raising cows and any other meat products.  They are used to make them develop faster, so guess what, those that consume those products are receiving the same hormones and getting the same affects.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Does this mean that priests, and other pedophiles will be molesting kindergarten children more?

  • Gholoch

    Please have  your panel discuss the role of endocrine disrupters in such massively used pesticides as Monsanto’s Roun

  • Mia

    Such an important topic.  Please see The Falling Age of Puberty in US Girls, a report commissioned by Breast Cancer Fund and written by Dr Sandra Steingraber. http://www.breastcancerfund.org/media/publications/falling-age-of-puberty/

  • Ed in VT

    Is the same thing happening with boys?

  • Yar

    Know your farmer know your food, I don’t use any hormones in the beef I raise.  The question is: Are you willing to pay 15 dollars per pound for hamburger that is hormone free and grass fed?
    Our food is way too cheap.

  • Jessi Griffin

    I’m a 29 year old caucasian, woman and had my first menstrual cycle when I was 8, started wearing a bra a few months before that. I then discovered my paternal grandmother, who is 51 years my senior, had her first menstrual cycle at 9. I’m wondering if there have been any research looking at genetic links?  

    It was extremely hard for me during that time.  I suffered from bullying, isolation, and depression which although I don’t blame it all on my hitting puberty early I think it played a huge part in my mental health.   

    The comment just made about growth fits me exactly. I was tall when I was younger, I was 5’2″ when I was 11 and I am still 5’2″.

  • Stacey

    Meanwhile, male fertility is dropping. Not good signs.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7XRTB57SUNLH2VK3RFXCBAO6K4 Emily

    I’m 34. When I was a toddler I started developing pubic hair and breast buds. My mother took me to the doctor who told her to switch to hormone-free chicken. She did, and all development ceased. This was in about 1980. At 25 I decided to switch to organic, fake hormone-free milk. I menstruated nearly nonstop for 6 months. My doctor upped my birth control to balance out the lack of hormones that were apparently coming from the milk I was drinking.  That caused other problems and these days I’m not taking any synthetic hormones and I buy from my local organic dairy. I’m more or less regular (slightly less… trying acupuncture to regulate it, which does the trick if I go often enough). I think Monsanto and its chemicals are to blame.

    • ana

      A little off topic, but the pesticide imidacloprid used on corn and soy is now implicated in the vanishing bee peril to our food supply.

    • Questioner

       I’m not sure if you drink hormone-free fake milk, or milk that’s fake hormone free but I wanted to say that you should probably stop consuming dairy and all meats.

  • Gerald Fnord

    As a victim of early-onset rationality and gentility, and of the terrible social consequences thereof, these girls have my sympathies.

    It was bad enough for the girl in my class who developed early—at 11.

  • Namiko Hart

    There has to be a connection with the food kids are eating.  Look at all the drug residual in milk from cows given growth hormone as well as meat.  Add to that chemicals in everything, from pesticides to hygiene products.  The kids are getting poisoned.  Feed your kids organic and see the difference.

  • Brothersower88

    My wife and I have started eating only organic (supposedly) non-hormone products, and have tried as best we can to avoid any unneeded chemicals.

    While not guaranteed to alter any children we may have, we want to give them natural beginning years, before they are exposed to huge chemical ingestion.


  • Maxim

    Even organic meat, dairy, and eggs from farmed animals raised without artificial hormones have plenty of naturally ocorring hormones. When we feed these products to kids from very early age, we should not be surprised that the kids’ hormones are disrupted. Research supports the hypothesis that consumption of hormone-rich animal products is linked to early onset of puberty: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/protein-puberty/

  • Cam

    I had the opposite problem growing up. All of my friends developed while I was a very late bloomer. I worry that if my girls develop late while all their friends are developing even earlier then my friends did, they will feel even more out of place than I did.

  • Maureen
  • Shannonstoney

    It’s in the water: birth control pills, etc. Precautionary approach should include reverse-osmosis purified water.

    • Shannonstoney

       That is, our drinking water contains a lot of pharmaceuticals, including the hormones from birth control pills.

  • Laurie

    We have 4 children, 3 of whom are daughters, ages 29, 27, and 16. All of them reached puberty in their teens, having their first periods at around 15, as used to be the norm.  We are also small family dairy farmers.  All of our children were raised drinking raw, hormone free, grass fed milk; hormone free beef, pork, chicken, eggs.  While this issue is very complex and probably not due to any one factor, we believe that the food system is a huge contributor.  

    Currently, commercial, large scale (factory) dairy farmers use something called “seeders” to make their milk cows come into heat so they can do the breeding in bunches… they can put the “seeders” in a large number of cows and do the artificial breeding all at once.  The seeder, a long plastic handle with a hormone plug which is placed in the uterine tract and left in the cow for a period of time to make her come into a heat, is used in conjunction with some injections, is used routinely and there is no milk withhold, meaning the milk is shipped to the milk co op where it is bottled and sold.

    Have any studies been done on kids who drink raw, hormone free milk versus “conventional” milk?  What about beef, pork, etc. that is raised and marketed “conventionally”?

  • Listener

    What association — even if causality isn’t established — is there between endocrine disruptors and early puberty?

    –endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic-like containers; endocrine disruptors in plastic-like containers that “leak” into microwaved food; and substances used in the lining of food cans

    Thank you. 

  • Cime

    Hormones in cow’s milk? And in meats?

  • A listener

    TOM….Please ask this to the experts: What is the role of mother and grandmother taking Hormone pills in their lives. Why not think that the problem is that what all ignore completely!!! Rather than trying to find environmental factors!!!!

  • hcn

    I wasn’t aware I was developing early until I had a sleepover with a friend (a year younger – we were about 8 and 7).  Her mom came in to dry us off after a shower and I remember her face — shocked, and a bit disgusted.  I’ll never forget it, and how we stopped hanging out soon afterwards, and I started menstruating at age 10.  My mother never talked to me about it except clinically.  I felt strange and weird among peers and kept it secret until all of my friends had started too.

  • Hank-in-Boston

    Is a diagnosis of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) being
    considered? The participants have described some of the symptoms and
    many doctors still miss this diagnosis because of lack of training and
    disorder frequency. Two of my three daughters have CAH and it has been
    effectively treated at New York Hospital / Cornell Medical Center.

  • Listener

    Is the early puberty in black girls seen in both African-American girls as well as immigrantblack girls whose parents are from African or Caribbean countries?

    Higher rates of breast cancer have been seen in African-American women relative to immigrant black women.  Could the same be happening for black girls regarding early puberty?

  • Axewieldingmaniac

    Did the you consider nutrition as the cause even eating we have an abundance of of food and food supplements when change a populations food supply in nature it effect procreation     

  • John Barnett

    My nutrition scientist wife just passed on here:
    the environmental influence (possibly, even likely the plastics contact with our foods) can directly initiate early estrogen activity. She adde this link and more technical explanation:
    http://www.envtox.ucdavis.edu/cehs/TOXINS/estrogens.htmspecific purpose or produced as a byproduct of manufacturing processes.Humans and other animals have a long history with phytoestrogens but a very short one with human-made environmental estrogens. Since the turn of the century, manufacture and use of synthetic chemicals has rapidly increased. So too has our exposure to them. These estrogenic chemicals, which differ from phytoestrogens in many ways, are found in:pesticides (insecticides such as o,p’-DDT, endosulfan, dieldrin, methoxychlor, kepone, dicofol, toxaphene, chlordane; herbicides such as alachlor, atrazine and nitrofen; fungicides such as benomyl, mancozeb and tributyl tin; nematocides such as aldicarb adn dibromochloropropane)
    products associated with plastics (bisphenol A, phthalates)
    pharmaceuticals (drug estrogens – birth control pills, DES, cimetidine)
    ordinary household products (breakdown products of detergents and associated surfactants, including nonylphenol and octylphenol)
    industrial chemicals (polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin and benzo(a)pyrene)
    heavy metals (lead, mercury, and cadmium)Some scientists are concerned that average exposure to environmental levels of these kinds of chemicals may be sufficient to affect human health. However, some of these chemicals are used industrially. Workers in these industries are likely to have exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals at levels far greater than the average.

  • Justin

    What about boys? Wouldn’t environmental and other factors affect males as well?

    • Shannonstoney

       the endocrine disruptors affect boys the opposite way, b/c they are mostly like estrogen rather than like androgens.

  • Rebecca Stanley

    Are boys also going through puberty earlier?

    Is this happening in the US only or throughout the world?  If it’s happening mainly in first world countries with decreased birth rates, could this possibly be some sort of adaptation to increase birth rates?

  • Mary_Flynn

    Mary Flynn I
    am a PhD nutrition researcher. My area is plant-based, olive oil diets.
    I have often thought the early puberty is due to the excessive protein
    Americans have been eating for about 20 yrs (since low-fat diets
    started). Has anyone looked at protein in the diet? Mary Flynn, PhD, RD,
    LDN The Miriam Hospital and Brown University, RI

  • Acolleen1

    I was under the impression that menstruation was dependent on weight and didn’t start until the child was about 100 pounds.  My daughter did not start menstruation until age of 17; she was under 100 pounds, but also was very physically active in an ice skating program.  As soon as she stopped, she did reach the 100 pounds and started regular menstruation.

  • Shannonstoney

    If witnessing violence triggers early puberty, it might be a good idea to limit American girls’ exposure to media violence. The brain can’t necessarily tell the difference b/w media violence and real violence. Media violence is a stressor.

  • Helen

    It will be interesting to see if there is a connection between excessive sugar intake and onset of puberty. I have noticed within our wide circle of relatives and friends over the years (I am 40), the ones that go through early puberty do consume excessive amount of foods that contain sugars or other carbohydrates. However, all our “skinny” friends had a rather delayed puberty between 12-14. I have a daughter that’s 11 and she started developing puberty signs only at 10 1/2. She is at a normal weight and I have tried to teach both of my daughters to eat right with good ratios of carbos, sugar, vegetables and fruits as well as protein. I think we need to study other societies as well and their onset of puberty for comparison purposes and examine the different variables that may play a role such as diet, amount of work, stress, etc. I myself had my period at age 12 and it is true that soon after that I stopped growing.

  • Mary

    My early development definitely had a lasting, negative impact on my body image, confidence, attitudes toward men, and, still today, my marriage. I am 50 years old, started my period at age 10, and was the tallest girl in 5th grade and the only one with noticeable breasts. I’m the same height today (5’3″) and am actually a pretty small person, but still see myself as the big, self-conscious girl from 5th grade. This program is difficult to listen to, but so important for parents to hear. Thank you!

    • Anonymous

      I also was full grown at age 10:
       5’5″. I will never forget playmates, when we were 12, wearing cute little costumes and dressing me as a overweight clown.  Of course, I was really skinny, just already had breasts and hips. They most likely were jealous. I still feel large  after all these years. We ate a healthy diet and harmones were not in meat back then.

  • JustSayin

    More study needed?  Even 40 years ago it was well known that herbicides and hormones used for fattening feed animals were having an effect on those who were exposed.

    I remember sitting through the same “new discoveries” of this then, and watching films and reading the data in textbooks about the proven links between early maturation, cancer, etc — and the tested and well researched links. 

    One of the most memorable, was a film about synthetic estrogen in feed causing male farmers to grow breasts. The solution to the problem was for the men to use respirators, or automated feeders.

  • Maxim

    Xenoestrogens have been shown to affect to the onset of puberty (http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/xenoestrogens-early-puberty/). We also know that consumption of dairy (organic or not) has a profound effect on human hormones (http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/dairy-sexual-precocity/). Now add the fact that genetic manipulation has led to dairy cows lactating into third trimester pregnancy, which means that we consume dairy products that have even higher levels of hormones that was common a few decades ago.

  • Jane

    I wonder whether this has anything to do with exercise and weight problems more than it has to do with chemicals in food. Our mothers and grandmothers practically grew up on chemical-fueled canned foods and developed more normally, but they were more active outside as children without television and so much couch time. 

    I was highly active through my late childhood and early teens. Though I started to develop some signs like buds and hair at an early age (seven or eight), I did not develop any other secondary sex characteristics until I stopped exercising in my late teens.

  • Cburdie

    I am  white59 years old >I started menstruation at 11 I was one of 2 girls in my gym class that was excused from gym in the 5th grade She was thin I was obese.so I must have started puberty at a younger age

  • Lucas Haynes

    I think the primary reason for this was just touched upon by Dr. Greenspan. I wonder if there is any data that shows a common theme of possibly absent fathers, single children, or some element in the home, much like the stress factor. Like she was saying about the Darwinian perspective, humans need to procreate and there are a number of things that might trigger that biological imperative to reproduce asap. For instance with the absent father, there may be a missing masculine element in the chemical balance of the entire household, triggering some sort of tribal desire to reproduce to make more men (hunters) as a necessary familial element?

  • Mala Desai

    Are there any thoughts addressing the idea that women are having children at later ages…thus older eggs?? Would that have any effect?

  • Phillipsthms

    what do your guest call violent tribes ? What are ther known cases of violent tribes ? Was the same phenomenon observed in the 16 and 17 european societes which were very violent ?

  • Tj

    It’s a disappointment and a disservice to the listening audience that there was not a psychologist on the panel, since there is so much research and data pointing to the psychological causes of early puberty.

  • PaulCJr

    A lot of the reason why kids are so big now a days is that they don’t play anymore, and the urban environment is so bad you don’t want your child paying in the streets because they’ll get run down by a car. Of course what these kids eat doesn’t help, but the fact that kids can’t walk or ride their bikes to school, and must always be on a gaming system leads to chubby kids. All this leads to chubby adults as well. We need to plan our communities better. 

  • Anonymous

    I started periods at age 9, almost 60 years ago. Runs in my family. Luckily for me, my mother was very matter of fact, explaining the situation. I have since read in a women’s magazine, a story in which the mother was describing totally freaking out. Apparently neither the mother or magazine editors realized the harm she did to her daughter by her behavior. I will say though that it was probably easier back then when children did not dress suggestively.

  • Jsmith

    We recently wrote a report on this topic that explores how communities are responding to early sexualization. The research needs to catch up – we don’t yet have a good definition of sexualization that allows us to recognize when it’s a problem, and for whom. Our review of the literature led us to believe that early sexualization is definitely a problem for some girls, however; for example, girls that are already at risk for psycho-social problems due to family stress, poverty, etc. Learn more at:



  • Guest

    I am sure this is caused by additives to the food chain. Our family has none of these issues, which I believe is because we are vegans for, at least, the last four generations. Earlier in my life I was a vegetarian, which allows dairy products but milk became suspect and was eliminated.

    May I suggest you do a study between these two groups and see what you find? I think you will discover that your food chain is contaminated. Clean it up or clean it out…of your life.

    • PaulCJr

      I think they had one caller that claimed she and her daughter ate organic, not vegetarian of course, and her daughter started puberty at 8. This issue might also be that some families are more prone to this issue than others. 

  • effie

    I was very concerned about this issue when my daughter was born and I have only fed both of my children organic milk, organic eggs, mostly organic meats, and many locally grown and some organic produce (basically the dirty dozen).  I had been hearing this from my friends who have children a bit older than me.

    My daughter was a full two years earlier than me despite my efforts with buying high quality expensive food, which I do not regret.  She was 11 1/2.  She is very physically active and spends a lot of time outside.  She weighed about 125 pounds and was 5’3″ (approximately) at the time of her first period.

    My concerns are twofold:  1.) What about self-care?  It takes a lot of personal organization to manage having your period.  After 9 months, I am still working on this with my daughter.  2.) What about the boys?  Are the girls outpacing the boys and is the gap widening between boys and girls and early interactions between boys and girls?  I am more concerned about the girls and my 13 year old son because I find that the girls are very assertive towards boys now.

    • Deann

      An eleven year old who is 5’3″ and weighs 125 pounds is quite heavy. Twenty years ago children did not weigh as much. Weight has a lot to do with having an early period. Also children ate more “whole” foods or foods that were not processed in any way. Wheat is a big contributor of weight gain in children and disrupts the endocrine system through inflammation. Additionally stress contributes to decreasing the age of puberty

  • Cindy Lws

    I am 52 and my 3 sisters and I did not start puberty until into our teens. It was a time of just normal life stress for kids in rural PA. I would have said this new trend was from hormone in milk and meat but the show opened my eyes to the other factors including stress. We have been at war my whole life and fear has grown exponentially in recent years. Also the other mentioned fact about sexuality being everywhere and I think internet and tv have changed things as well. I know as a gardener to create blooms you trim and otherwise traumatize the plant. It makes them desperate to reproduce. I never would have thought this same could apply to people but now I believe it does. “the times they are a changing”!

  • Diane

    Some things to consider:
    Even a cow that is never given hormones will have plenty of hormones in its meat and milk.
    Cows grow to 50 times their birth size in their first year, while feeding on thier mother’s milk. 
    Our ancestors consumed much less meat and milk than we do.
    No wonder girls are hitting puberty earlier.

    • Anonymous

      “Our ancestors consumed much less meat and milk than we do.”

      This is very debatable and depends on the population.  Europeans in the last few centuries would eat large amounts of meat.  Populations such as in India would consume large amounts of milk products regularly.  Cows aren’t the only source of milk either.

      I suspect it is due to the increasing body fat in kids.

  • Kajh

    Re the Vogue mother’s method, and the guest speaker’s directive for parents to model good eating and exercise habits: I grew up in a family of seven kids, where our parents modeled good eating and exercise habits, and were both relatively trim. That said, two of my siblings grew up with very significant obesity issues, whereas the other five are trim and fit. So though modeling is good, and helps some of the time, it is not the whole answer. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/MountainTurtle13 Mark Butterfield


    Yes, the Canary in the Coalmine parallel IS correct, IS what’s going on. The commentators here & many aware, holistically-oriented people already ‘know’ what medical science & certainly conservatives, politicians & corporate heads do not:  The environment as well as the culture is very ill!  Our kitchens (equipment), refrigerators & the environment in general are FULL of endocrine-disrupting chemicals; government policy (including the Farm Bill) & corporations are driving an agricultural & food environment whose result is widespread obesity, which has widespread hormonal consequences; we are allowing the corporations through advertising – as well as the media & entertainment industries – to hypnotize & brainwash us AND our children; and we are allowing all sorts of stress from this distracted, consumption-oriented society to interfere with our personal & family lives.All things ARE!!! connected:  We cannot skimp on the environment, allow corporations to do whatever is in their financial interest, regardless of myriad negative consequences as well as near & far downstream effects, and to be in control of all government policy-making as they are.

     - Vote with your WALLET!
     - Vote with your FORK!
     - Turn off the TELEVISION!
     - As a family, READ!
     - REPEAT this cycle!

    Regarding this specific health problem (ridiculously early puberty) and all virtually all health problems, read books or watch videos in the areas of functional medicine & holistic nutrition, and/or consult practitioners in these areas.

    For those who wish to see a functional medicine physician or other practitioner, one good way to find one is through the Institute for Functional Medicine:

    If you want to find a holistic nutritionist/holistic lifestyle coach, one good way is through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition:

    Your health & your childrens’ health IS under your control — as long as you don’t allow the downstream consequences of corporate profit-making to determine it.  

    And don’t be under any illusions about how much corporate profit-making has controlled & does determine actual medical knowledge & practice..!!  Medicine never talks about HEALING, does it..?!  And “Health Care” has nothing to do with health —  They’re both only about DISEASE MANAGEMENT.  Where do you think the profits are greater, in lifelong disease management, or in prevention, wellness & HEALTH..!?  I’m not saying that it’s a one-step, from-here-to-there conspiracy by anyone.  But it IS a direct series of cause-and-effect relationships.

    Educate yourself.  Ask for help.  Claim your power.  Assert your rights.

    Mark D. Butterfield, MD, MPH

  • Eric

    Is there something going on here with the onset of early puberty, and the reality tv shows where moms make their 3 year olds compete in fashion shows? 

    • Anonymous

      “Reality” TV has nothing to do with reality.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    One of the best takes on one possible aspect of the accelerated puberty trend is Southparks treatment of parents encouraging their young daughters to dress like stupid spoiled whores  It is episode 123 in season 8.  One of many I recommend watching. Yes it has rough language and images, but they get their point across week after week. The episode is hilarious. You have to stay around for Mr. Slaves speech at the end. I am not very old (most days) {55} but I can remember most girls not being allowed to put on makeup until they were 14.  Now it is on some of them before they even get to grade school. Large part of the problem is parents not doing their part.

    • The American Porno (dream)

       but also their role models are all over the TV and Net and in culture and they5 years old are being sexualized by it.  Observe babies in front of TV–they begin to dance sexually wile they watch Brittany Spears and other slags dry humping the stage or performing fellatio –they learn by example.  This must have a psycho change in the brain.  our culture is pornographic. 

      i was pulling on my thing by the time i was 8  (that cant be normal).

    • Anonymous

      I doubt most parents are encouraging this behavior.  Also, saying that seeing something will turn you into that is like saying that watching lots of sports on TV will cause boys to become more athletic.  Ironically watching lots of TV will make you go the other way.

      I suspect it is due to increased body fat in kids.

  • Jpmacco

    I work with students and have noticed the difference with boys in height. When working at San Diego middle schools students seemed much shorter than they are here in Massachusetts. It’s not unusual to see boys over 6 ft who are 14 yrs. old. This seemed very unusual as I never saw this at the schools I worked at in San Diego. I also recall growing up as a middle-school student in the 80′s and do not remember such tall students.

  • Jpmacco

    The images you have in pop-culture may have something to do with girls having younger puberty. In the 80′s girls were just introduced to Madonna.

  • Jpmacco

    I appreciate the specialist’s comments regarding eating disorders but the fact is the mother was right in putting her daughter on a diet. Eating healthier and smaller portions IS a diet, and her daughter needed such. Such a diet will impact her health and self-esteem.

    However, some parents are much too worried about the self-esteem of their children; most obese children are either self indulged or neglected, and they often learn this from role modeling. The daughter should never have gotten to that size. Children can learn to eat less and have self-control without developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex. They are often about the need to control and addiction. I would recommend raising your child with a healthy sense of control in every realm, with that said, occasionally there are some obsessive issues related to eating disorders outside of parental involvement, similar to addiction disorders. But for most, blaming schools is an easy out. We are a materialistic culture – children should know happiness is not related to something outside of ourselves. Watch your child; do not let them develop obesity.

  • got milk

    To Dr. Greenspan and others… In addition to hormones in food, in the parents blood and cells–the contamination is passed down–compounded—but in addition to this the psychological aspects, as the caller mentioned, seems to me a worthwhile investigation…here is why:

    I live in China.  Here the girls seem to mature much slower than western girls.  20year olds seem like 15 year olds (mentally, socially).  I discussed puberty and development not to long ago with my Chinese girlfriend–interestingly this was what we talked about–she has noticed that western girls are far more advanced socially/mentally/physically at certain ages and said she didn’t have her first period until late 15, saying this is normal in China.  They do not normally have the first kiss, first date until late college.  China is not inundated with sex and precocious young girls as seen on TV.  Pop stars here are pretty but not overly sexual and fully clothed–mostly–long legs probably doesn’t count. 

    I lost my virginity at 16 (normal) with a girl well-developed and sexually active at 14 (20 years ago).

    In china that is absurd, and very disturbing.  Unless you live under a rock, this is completely normal in America (for some, for many).

    I suggest including other countries (not just Europe) in your research, especially Asian cultures, and China–looking at culture, and psychological aspects.   

    Your guest says it’s really a global phenomenon–i think that is an overstatement and not entirely honest.  If it’s a global problem it is only because modern American culture is being exported and they are only beginning to see the results while we in America have been flooded with endocrine interrupters and infected with Brittany spears for years……..look at china!

    The psycho aspect is significant, and coupled with chemicals in our cells–we are in trouble.  Ban Brittany Spears and GAga!  Ban Fox news.  Ban Monsanto!  Ban conventional agriculture! 

  • Eackad

    Prior to our modern era most families did not have separate rooms so children would hear and see parents copulating. How can TV compare with that? Seems unlikely today’s sexuality is anything like what we had before we each had our own rooms.

    Maybe this is nature trying to find the best age by trial and error . At some point in our history we would have had puberty very early as chimps. Maybe the puberty line is always moving.

  • Deann

    It has everything to do with food. My daughter and all my nieces who were feed organic fruit, vegetables and meat (no junk food=endocrine disruptors, minimal dairy and no wheat) did not have their periods until 15. Also none of them were overweight. 
    The caller who noted that her daughter was only feed organic missed one key piece of info. How much her daughter weighs. I am willing to bet she is overweight and eats wheat.
    Note the comment from someone who is chinese. Puberty occurs at 15 there too. Diet high in veg. fruit and meat – no wheat.
    It is diet and to some extent genes.

  • Sara-bara

    I agree with most people’s emphasis on one of the most likely causes being an overdose of estrogen-mimicking chemicals in our food and/or in our environment.  However, no one has centered on the impacts of SOY especially in soy-based infant formula which, as discussed in the following article, contains the estrogen equivalent of 5 birth control pills a day for a baby.  yikes!  

    • Morgan

      Soy does not contain estrogen, as estrogen is an animal hormone.  It does contain estrogen like compounds.  However:
      With respect to the effects of soy phytoestrogens (isoflavones) on
      hormone levels, a recently published meta-analysis that included 32
      clinical studies showed that neither isoflavone-rich soy protein nor
      isoflavones affect reproductive hormone levels in men, including both
      total and free testosterone and total and free dihydrotestosterone.2
      Similarly, a meta-analysis that included 47 clinical studies showed
      neither soy nor isoflavones had meaningful effects on reproductive
      hormone levels in pre- or postmenopausal women. 3 Also, a
      recent comprehensive review found soy does not exert feminizing effects
      in men; this review included 9 studies that showed soy does not affect
      estrogen levels.4

      2. Hamilton-Reeves JM, Vazquez G, Duval SJ, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS,
      Messina MJ. Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or
      isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis.
      Fertil. Steril. 2010, 94, 997-1007.

      3. Hooper L, Ryder JJ, Kurzer MS, Lampe JW, Messina MJ, Phipps WR,
      Cassidy A. Effects of soy protein and isoflavones on circulating hormone
      concentrations in pre- and post-menopausal women: a systematic review
      and meta-analysis. Hum. Reprod. Update. 2009, 15, 423-40.

      4. Messina M. Soybean isoflavone exposure does not have feminizing
      effects on men: a critical examination of the clinical evidence. Fertil.
      Steril. 2010, 93, 2095-104.

      • pilgrim001

        Your bias is obvious; who are YOU?
        Re: Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis.
        all I will say before trying to read this report is that it first appeared or at least appeared in ‘The Journal of Nutrition: Please have a look at the sustaining members of the american journal of clinical
        nutrition. http://curezone.com/forums/am.asp?i=1700072
        MONSANTO!! This is a company that time and again has been charged with breaking laws that risk peoples lives. THEIR FAVOURITE PRACTICE IS SPONSORING IT’S OWN CLINICAL STUDIES OR HEAVILY SPONSORING INSTITUTIONS THAT OFFER FAVOURABLE (OR IF THEY CAN’T DO THAT OFFER SOMETHING ALONG THE LINES OF: ‘THERE IS NO EVIDENCE’.) well you know what MORGAN? No one worth listening too believes in the integrity of companies like MONSANTO>  And before you bother telling me that I’m an idiot.., I’m very uneducated.., and struggle compared to those with good to high IQ’s. But I get my information from individuals who are considered the best in their fields and their saying terrible things about GM foods and a range of problems.

  • pilgrim001

    I’m so very angry (#@!#!*) why isn’t anyone saying the obvious. I believe most of the cases of very young children reaching maturity is a direct cause of monsanto and their GMO foods. More susceptible are those from poor economic area’s and those obese individuals who’s diet will include many fast foods, which are full of GMO’s. I bet if you look at higher socio-economic groups you would find that there are far less families experiencing this nearly as much. I absolutely believe that it is Monsanto’s evil corporate activities that are causing a change in our growth cycles due to their GMO products. BEFORE YOU WRITE ME OFF AS IS TOO EASY TO DO (SMUG SMILES AND ALL) PLS WATCH!!!
    ‘The World According to Monsanto’: a documentary with notable experts including scientist formily employed by Monsanto who tried to object to unsafe practices.
    ‘The Slow Poisoning of India’: a documentary outlining their normal corporate attitudes regarding their new GMO’s and the world food sources.

    My ten yo son balls have dropped. THIS IS BS> Damn it! I’m sick of companies dictating our standards of living. We have a right to a roof over our heads that doesn’t cost 40% of our wages, safe food with any newly developed food groups having the strictest of protocols regarding their introduction, etc etc etc

  • pilgrim001

    regardless of my rant; i do believe that GMO’s are responsible for this phenomenon happening all over the world but with notably huge numbers of Americans experiencing this.

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

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