Age of menarche falls substantially globally with economic development, and now appears to be near its physiological lower limit in the US. Younger age of menarche is consistently
associated with higher risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, but it is unclear how to translate this observation into effective public health action with modifiable targets of intervention. To provide some insight, Professor Schooling and colleagues took advantage of a unique birth cohort to examine how mother’s age of menarche was related to the key cardiovascular disease risk factor of adolescent blood pressure. As expected, earlier maternal age of menarche was associated with higher blood pressure, but this association was mediated by childhood adiposity. This means that ongoing efforts to reduce childhood adiposity could be one way of preventing early age of menarche and its consequences.
In summary, co-author Professor C Mary Schooling says “This study highlights yet another reason for prioritizing action to combat childhood adiposity, because it may also have benefits for pubertal timing”
Lai TC, Leung GM, Schooling CM, Maternal Age of Menarche and Blood Pressure in Adolescence: Evidence from Hong Kong’s “Children of 1997” Birth Cohort. PLoS One. 2016 Jul 25;11(7):e0159855