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ENDO: Maternal Age at Menarche Linked to Child's Obesity

Researchers find earlier menarche predicts rapid infant growth and childhood obesity

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Women with an earlier age of menarche may be more likely to have children who experience rapid infant growth and are at increased risk of childhood and adult obesity, according to research presented this week at ENDO 2006, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Boston.

Ken Ong, M.D., of the University of Cambridge in the U.K., and colleagues analyzed data on 6,023 children enrolled in the population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children birth cohort study.

The researchers found that children of mothers with earlier menarche were taller at age 9 and had a larger body mass index and fat mass but had a shorter adult stature than children of mothers with later menarche. They also found that children of mothers in the earliest menarche quintile (at or before 11 years) had more than a doubled risk (odds ratio 2.15) for childhood obesity compared to those of mothers in the oldest menarche quintile (at 15 years or later).

"Earlier age at menarche may indicate an important trans-generational influence on the tempo of childhood growth, which is transmitted from the mother to her offspring," the authors conclude. "Identification of the behavioral or genetic factors that underlie this process will inform the mechanisms that regulate the timing of puberty, and help the identification of subjects at risk of early-onset obesity and its disease consequences."

Abstract

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