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Age of Menarche in a Longitudinal US Cohort

      Abstract

      Study Objective

      Menarche is a critical milestone in a woman's life, and historically has been determined using several approaches. The goals of this study were to: (1) determine age at menarche from multiple reports of parents and adolescent participants in a prospective study; (2) examine factors affecting age at menarche; and (3) determine correlates of menarche and pubertal tempo.

      Design

      Longitudinal observational study.

      Setting

      Three sites of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program.

      Participants

      Girls enrolled at 6-8 years of age.

      Interventions and Main Outcome Measures

      Parental and participant reported age of menarche, and tempo of puberty.

      Results

      There were 946 girls who were assigned an age of menarche. The correlation between parent and participant reports was high (Spearman R = 0.799, P < .001), and the difference was insignificant. Median age at menarche overall was 12.25 years. Compared with black participants, Hispanic girls were more likely to have menarche earlier, whereas white and Asian girls were more likely to have menarche later. Age of menarche was highly correlated with age of breast development (Spearman R = 0.547; P < .001), and inversely with body mass index (Spearman R = −0.403; P < .001). Tempo (interval of age of breast development to menarche) was slower in those with earlier breast development.

      Conclusion

      Parental and adolescent reports of menarche are highly correlated. Earlier breast maturation was associated with slower tempo through puberty. Body mass index had a greater effect on age at menarche than did race and ethnicity.

      Key Words

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