Published September 23, 2008
A University of Arizona study suggests that young girls are starting puberty earlier because of their dysfunctional fathers, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
Young girls exposed to the stresses of their fathers, but then experienced a better home life once he left, sometimes got their periods a year earlier than their sisters who lived with the father throughout their teen years, according to the study.
Professor Bruce Ellis discovered that girls who came from families, in which the fathers were addicted to drugs or alcohol, were abusive or involved with crime, started their periods about 11 months earlier than their older sisters.
Research has shown that early puberty puts girls at an increased risk for breast cancer, depression and teen pregnancy.
Ellis studied 68 divorced and 93 non-divorced families. The daughters in each family were several years apart in age, but what influenced the start of menstruation was not that the girls lived with an abusive or drug-addicted father, but that the situation had changed or improved once he left home.
"They are responding to that change by developing more quickly than their older sisters," Ellis said.
Other factors for early onset puberty include obesity, good nutrition and chemical exposure.