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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 17, 2012

Association of early menarche age and overweight/obesity

Irena Bralić EMAIL logo , Husref Tahirović , Dubravka Matanić , Ozren Vrdoljak , Stanislava Stojanović-Špehar , Vedran Kovačić and Sanja Blažeković-Milaković


Aim: The aim of the study is to assess the association of overweight/obesity and early menarcheal age.

Patients and methods: The study comprised 2127 healthy girls aged 9 to 16 years. Menarcheal age was estimated by status quo method. The girls’ body weight and height were measured and their body mass index (BMI) calculated. The diagnostic criteria of the WHO were used to define overweight and obesity. Girls with a BMI in the range of 1–2 for age and sex were considered overweight. Girls with a BMI >2 standard deviation (SD) for age and sex were considered obese. Girls with a BMI >1 SD for age and sex were considered overweight/obese. Social and economic status was analyzed according to years of education completed, parents’ occupations, and the number of children in the family.

Results: Median menarcheal age was 12.83 years; 25% girls had menarche before 11.98 years and 75% by 13.69 years. By 11.21 years, 10% of girls had had menarche, and 95% by 14.91 years. Girls who had menarche before 11.98 years had higher body weight values (48.5 vs. 40.2 kg) (p<0.001), height (159.3 vs. 149.2 cm) (p<0.001), and BMI (18.9 vs. 17.8 kg/m2) (p=0.003) than their peers without menarche. Girls with menarche before 11.98 years had significantly higher BMI values than girls with menarche after 13.69 years (18.94 vs. 17.84 kg/m2) (p=0.008). Girls with menarche before 11.98 years and those after 13.69 years differ significantly in distribution of thinness (3.4% vs. 2.54%), normal weight (85.3% vs. 91.8%), and overweight/obesity (11.2% vs. 5.7%) (p=0.002).

Conclusions: Girls who experienced early menarche are significantly more often overweight/obese. Overweight/obesity may be considered as one of the predictors for the early occurrence of menarche.

Corresponding author: Irena Bralić, Specialist Office in Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Split, A. Stepinca 17, 21220 Trogir, Croatia

Received: 2011-5-16
Accepted: 2011-11-2
Published Online: 2012-01-17
Published in Print: 2012-02-01

©2012 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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