A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that girls who hit puberty younger than 10 are much more common than they were in the past two decades. In the study, researchers evaluated about 1,200 6- to 8-year-old girls for breast development and the appearance of pubic hair, both signs of early puberty.
But, as with any study, there are some limitations. For instance, recruitment levels for the study were low, so that could have created a major bias. Another important element absent from this research is information about the onset of menstruation, which could indicate whether puberty has actually started.
This may not be the first time you’ve heard of girls hitting puberty at younger ages. A number of studies in the past few years have shown similar results.
Health experts all agree that it is important to find the cause of early puberty, because of potential health concerns and developmental issues. One theory blames the growing epidemic of obesity among children because fat tissue is linked to estrogen production. Another puts the blame on environmental toxins.