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Roth, Christian

Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism

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Obesity in children and adolescents: relationship to growth, pubarche, menarche, and voice break

Michaela Kleber
  • Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition Medicine, Vestische Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Witten/Herdecke, Datteln, Germany
/ Alexandra Schwarz
  • Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition Medicine, Vestische Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Witten/Herdecke, Datteln, Germany
/ Thomas Reinehr
  • Email:
Published Online: 2011-04-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpem.2011.089

Abstract

Objective: The relationships between obesity, pubertal development, and height are controversial. Therefore, we compared the prevalence of pubarche, menarche, and voice break between a large collective of obese and normal-weight children and adolescents aged 10–16 years.

Methods: We assessed weight, height, pubarche, menarche, and voice break in 1383 obese German children and in 6615 children of a representative national German cohort aged 10–16 years. In all obese children, gonadotropins were determined and birth weight data were collected.

Results: Independently of gender, the height standard deviation score (SDS) was significantly greater (0.3–1.0) in obese children <14 years compared to the reference cohort. Independently of age, the percentage of obese boys with pubarche was significantly lower compared to age-matched normal-weight boys. In girls <13 years, the prevalence of obese girls with pubarche was significantly lower compared to age-matched normal-weight girls. In boys ≥11 years, the percentage of obese boys with change of voice was significantly lower compared to age-matched normal-weight boys. In girls ≥11 years, the prevalence of obese girls with menarche was significantly lower compared to age-matched normal-weight girls. Birth weight had no impact on pubarche in the obese children. Luteinizing hormone was >0.3 IU/L in 86% of the children ≥10 years with pubarche.

Conclusions: Obese children are taller than normal-weight children up to the age of 14 years. Since obese children demonstrated pubarche, menarche, and voice break later than their normal-weight peers, the increase in height in obese children does not seem to be attributable to earlier onset of puberty.

Keywords: birth weight; height; maturation; obesity; pubertal development

About the article

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Thomas Reinehr, Vestische Kinder- und Jugendklinik, University of Witten/Herdecke, Dr. F. Steiner Str. 5, 45711 Datteln, Germany Phone: +49-2363-975-229, Fax: +49-2363-975-218


Published Online: 2011-04-14

Published in Print: 2011-04-01


Citation Information: Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, ISSN (Online) 2191-0251, ISSN (Print) 0334-018X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpem.2011.089. Export Citation

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