Related to puberty and being overweight
Girls who enter puberty earlier than others are often overweight. A study of „University of Exeter“ has discovered a possible connection.
Girls who get their first menstruation early are often overweight. This possible correlation was confirmed by a scientific evaluation of an international research group of 175 scientists. Indications have shown that the diet makes a significant contribution to the time from which the first menstruation occurs. Important factors are above all genetic variations as well as environmental influences. With environmental influences, e.g. also meant the diet and lifestyle of children. Depending on how the children and adolescents feed themselves, the onset of the first menstruation is temporary. To confirm this assumption, numerous data from previous studies were evaluated.
The time of the first menstruation (menarche) is very different for girls. For some children, the first menstrual period sets in at the age of ninth. In others, the first period begins only in the course of the age of majority, ie between the 17th and 18th years of life. This enormous variation is mainly due to genetic factors. The genetic content is quantified by scientists at 50 percent. The other half is determined by so-called environmental influences. According to research findings, the diet plays an important role. If there is a shortage of minerals, vitamins and other important nutrients, the first bleeding shifts towards the back. This means that children suffer from underweight, so the menarche occurs much later. If there is an oversupply of food and is overweight, then the rule begins much earlier. This phenomenon is particularly noticeable in western industrialized countries.
To establish the relationship between diet and puberty and first menstrual bleeding, the international research group examined data from a total of 32 previous studies. Overall, the values of 87,000 women were analyzed. Here, the scientists mainly took the gene data and compared this with the onset of the menarche. The result of the study revealed that around 30 gene variants are responsible for the onset of menstruation. Another ten genes are at least suspected to also play a role. The latter are most likely responsible, but the evaluation could not prove this result beyond doubt.
In addition to the genes governing hormonal or cell cycle processes, many gene variants were also responsible for regulating lipid metabolism. These are suspected to play a major role in the emergence of obesity. In conclusion, the scientists concluded that some women have a certain predisposition to obesity and the onset of puberty. All other existing connections, ie why the onset of puberty is so different, are currently not explored. According to the researchers, the researched genes only make up a total of six percent.
So far, only two genes involved in timing have been identified. These two genes only accounted for 0.6 percent. The newly discovered variants increase the researched factor by ten, which is still not sufficient to explain all the influences sufficiently. Therefore, there must be many other components that determine the timing of sexual maturity in girls. If further genes could be discovered and analyzed, explanation patterns could also be found, for example, why premature menstruation favors later illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or hypertension. The research results were in the science magazine „Nature Genetics“ released. (Sb)
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Picture credits: Barbara Eckholdt