In a period of just 15 years, the age at which the average child hits puberty has dropped significantly, according to some estimates by as much as a year. This is true for the United States as well as Europe where the age at which kids reach puberty is seen to have fallen.
Children are ill equipped to deal with the practical and emotional aspects of attaining puberty when younger. Girls run into teen problems earlier on and incidence of disease is seen to rise as well.
Several reasons are put forward to explain this recent phenomenon of children attaining earlier puberty:
- Lifestyle factors such as lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating habits are leading to more and more percentages of obese children in society, which is thought to have a direct impact on the age of puberty.
- Obese children are seen to become pubescent earlier, whereas thinner, more active children reach it later in life.
- Further environmental chemicals, the byproduct of our modern lifestyles are also responsible: toxins such as phthalates are thought to impact the age of puberty.
- The possible role of Bisphenol A (BPA) in speeding up sexual maturation is also being examined by studies.
- It is also thought that exposure to TV and movies with adult content has the impact of triggering puberty earlier.