The belief that American girls are going through puberty earlier and earlier is not a new one. I remember when my twelve year old niece was a toddler, I had this conversation with my sister-in-law. With a new study backing up the idea that indeed our girls are going through puberty earlier, it’s a topic worth discussing again. According to the study, about 15% of girls are showing signs of breast development by the age of seven. SEVEN!! My tiny daughter is six years old now, and while I don’t see this happening to her, I would hate for it to happen to other little girls well before they understand the changes in their bodies and are able to deal with a menstrual cycle . The big question is, how do we stop it?
Some scientists and researchers believe early puberty is related to the obesity epidemic in this country. The more fat we store, the more estrogen we make. More estrogen can mean early puberty, which can lead to more fertile years and an increased risk of breast cancer as an adult. Researchers are also eying BPA and other estrogen-like chemicals as possible causes. While more study and information is needed to determine the exact cause, let’s all do what is best for our girls by making healthy choices for them today. Let’s feed them healthy meals that are low in soy, a plant estrogen, as well as other additives and chemicals. Let’s stop using plastic storage containers in favor of glass and use stainless steal water bottles that are naturally BPA-free. Let’s encourage our daughters to get exercise daily, and teach them that exercise is about caring for your body and not about having the perfect body. A healthier lifestyle could keep early puberty at bay for our daughters.