Kids really are growing up faster these days.
Girls are reaching puberty at younger ages, more so than any generation in history, recent studies show. In 1900, the average age to reach puberty was 14; now, about 15 percent of girls in the U.S. reach this milestone at age 7.
Early puberty can catch everyone off-guard, says Akilah Weber, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Younger girls may not be emotionally ready for their body’s changes, and many parents are unprepared for the early arrival. But support from family members, especially moms, can help girls cope,” Dr. Weber says.
Experts aren’t sure why puberty is hitting earlier, but it could be due to the higher percentage of childhood obesity, which triggers the puberty-associated hormone leptin. Environmental chemicals also can cause hormonal changes, experts say.
If your daughter shows signs of puberty before age 7, have her evaluated by a physician, Dr. Weber says.