Aim: A recent secular trend towards earlier thelarche has been suggested. The aim of this study is to examine normative ages of thelarche and menarche in contemporary US females.
Methods: Trained physicians documented Tanner breast stage by observation in a cross-sectional cohort. Age of menarche was self-reported. The subjects were healthy female children and adolescents. The mean age of thelarche was determined by probit analysis and the mean age of menarche was determined by using a normal time-to-event model.
Results: Mean age of thelarche was 9.7 years among 610 females aged 3.0–17.9 years (70% non-Hispanic Caucasian (NHC), 14% African-Americans, 7% Hispanic, 9% “other”). The mean age of menarche was 12.8 years for NHC, with African-Americans having menarche 0.6 years earlier.
Conclusions: Thelarche occurred earlier than recently reported, while age of menarche remained unchanged, this supported a persistent secular trend towards earlier thelarche but stable age of menarche. This suggests that the observed thelarche is gonadotropin-independent or the tempo of pubertal advancement has slowed.