Why Does Puberty Start Earlier Than It Used To?

A group of four girls, who appear to be around age six or seven, in lavender, jean, and creme clothing. One girls has blonde curly hair. Another girl has straight red hair. One girl has brunette hair styled in buns. The last girl has dark curly hair. Antoni Shkraba/Pexels

This article summarizes leading research on the decreasing age of the onset of puberty, and looks into what’s “normal” for starting one’s period. It looks at a fairly wide range of factors that may contribute to earlier puberty. It also provides research you can use for advocacy, demonstrating the benefits of teaching menstruation education and providing menstrual products in schools at younger grades.

“Girls who go through puberty early are at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other psychological problems, compared with peers who hit puberty later. Girls who get their periods earlier may also be at a higher risk of developing breast or uterine cancer in adulthood.

Note: This article uses terms such as “obesity,” which pathologize body size. Additionally, this article is published by The New York Times, which currently offers only four free articles per month.