Disease Proof

Puberty before the Age of Ten

Hard to believe? No. It’s reality. Sandy Maple of ParentDish shares her feelings on premature puberty in her own family. Take a look:
I know several women, including my daughter Christy, who hit puberty before the age of ten. Breast development is considered the first sign of the onset of puberty, but lord knows it isn't the only one…


…One new study claims that environmental toxins may be to blame. The mycoestrogen zearalenone (ZEA), which has properties similar to estrogen, can be found naturally in the environment but is also structurally similar to anabolic growth agents used in animal breeding…

…Clearly, the true cause of this phenomenon is yet to be discovered and it very well may be a combination of many factors. But as a parent of a young girl, the trend concerns me.
Certainly a dicey topic, but one we’ve talked about before. Here’s a refresher from last month’s post, Girls and Puberty, Sooner and Sooner:
Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse…


…Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification1...

…Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve2…

…Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.3
Now, I scanned this out of Disease-Proof Your Child—and yes, I did a bad job—but, it should help put things into perspective. Check it out:


Hopefully this influences parents like Sandy to ratchet up their kids’ diet.

1. Dorgan JF, Hunsberger SA, McMahon RP, et al. Diet and sex hormones in girls:findings from a radomized controlled clinical trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003; 95(2):132-141.

2. Pike MC, Henderson BE, Casagrande JT. IN: Pike MC, Siiteri PK, Welsh CN, eds. Hormones and cancer. New York, Banbury Reports, Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory 3, 1981.

3. UK Department of Health, Working Group on Diet and Cancer of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy. Nutritional aspects of the development of cancer. London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1998.
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