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Earlier Puberty in American Boys

Researchers have discovered that puberty in American boys is earlier by two years compared to what has been put forward by previous studies. For blacks, the average age is 9; 10 for Hispanics and Caucasians. Other studies have also suggested that girls are entering puberty at an earlier age.

Experts generally consider puberty early if it begins before age 9 in boys and 8 in girls.

Various reasons ranging from higher levels of inactivity and obesity to high chemical content in food and water are pinpointed as causes for earlier puberty since they tend to interfere with the normal production of hormones. Nevertheless, these are just theories, untested and unproven.

But doctors say earlier puberty should not be a cause for concern. In fact, some experts do not even think this trend is real.

Dr. William Adelman is an adolescent medicine specialist. He says this new study is the first of its kind to establish strong evidence that boys are maturing at an earlier age. Nevertheless, the research is not conclusive proof and it also raises many questions.

Previous research was based on 20-year-old information that also suggested a trend of earlier puberty among boys. However, it was grounded on less rigorous data. For this new study, data included testes measurements of around 4,000 boys. According to experts, testes enlargement is a sign of puberty in boys.

Dr. Neerav Desai, an adolescent medicine specialist in Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, also saw the trend toward earlier puberty in boys. He emphasized that it is important for doctors and parents to be aware to help these young boys prepare for the upcoming changes in their bodies during puberty.

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