US Catholic Faith in Real Life

More to be worried about: Early puberty?

Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Just in case US parents had managed to make it through the week without adding something new to their list of "THINGS TO BE WORRIED ABOUT" (Have you seen this article on drowning and children?), I thought I would nominate one more new anxiety candidate this Friday the 13th: early puberty.Today's news includes a raft of reports on the phenomenon that has been noted before among American girls, may also be affecting American boys, and includes new reports of the syndrome affecting babies (!) in China. USNWR reports: "Ten percent of 7-year-old white girls are already developing breasts, as are 23 percent of black girls, and 15 percent of Hispanic girls, according to a new study from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, which appears in the September issue of Pediatrics. Those numbers are greater than they were 10 to 30 years ago, and appear to still be on the rise for white girls."Why is this happening? The suspect list is quite long and includes bovine growth hormone (apparently too richly included in Chinese infant formula), fluoride (yes, that stuff again!) and industrial chemicals used in food storage production and baby bottles that act as estrogen emulators (and which may also be affecting boys). Top of the list though is plain old obesity and a diet too centered around meat-eating. Americans have been getting heavier and the extra fat that girls as young as 6 and 7 have been adding in succeeding generations appears to be fooling Mother Nature, something we know from painful experience is not nice at all.