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Puberty timing influenced by pubertal timing of both parents (2016-05-19)

Both paternal and maternal timing of puberty have a strong influence on the timing of pubertal onset in their children, and this was not sex-specific, mean ages of pubertal onset support earlier findings of a secular trend towards earlier pubertal maturation.

This was most pronounced for breast development in girls, for which hereditability appears to have less impact than for menarche, it suggests that other (environmental) factors are responsible for the rapid decline in age at pubertal onset in girls.

Researchers studied the timing of puberty for 672 girls and 846 boys relative to their parents and found kids who developed pubic hair and other hallmarks of adulthood at an unusually young age tended to have mothers and fathers who also matured early.

Children who go through early puberty may be shorter than average adults because after their early growth spurt their bones may stop growing at a younger age, and they are also at increased risk of obesity as adults.
During adolescence, they may face an increased risk of social and emotional problems and earlier sexual experiences.

When fathers matured early, boys tended to develop pubic hair almost one year ahead and also grew enlarged testes about 9.5 months sooner than sons of fathers who went through puberty late.

Girls with fathers that matured early started menstruating about 10.5 months sooner and developed pubic hair around 7 months before girls whose fathers developed late. Early breast development in girls, however, didnít appear to be tied to early puberty in their fathers.

Daughters of women who matured early typically started menstruating about 10 months sooner than girls with late-blooming mothers and sons went through genital maturation about 6.5 months before boys with mothers who developed late.

Interestingly, the associations between parental puberty and breast development in girls were generally weaker than associations with menarche and with pubertal milestones in boys.

One shortcoming of the study is that researchers relied on parents to accurately recall and report on when they went through puberty many years earlier. They also got more data from mothers than fathers, which may have affected the relative influence of each parent in the results.

For more information
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Pubertal onset in boys and girls is influenced by pubertal timing of both parents