Puberty is when a child’s body begins to change into that of an adult. However, puberty is considered precocious when it begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys.
In this section, we shall emphasis on precocious puberty in young girls.
Signs of precocious puberty in girls include:
- Early breast development
- Early menstruation
- Rapid growth spurt
- Development of pubic and underarm hair
- Adult body odour
Wide variations are seen in the sequence and timing of these events, but the peak growth spurt always precedes the first period.
Early puberty although common is also considered a risk factor for a number of degenerative diseases later in life like early onset of menopause, hormone-related (breast) cancers, metabolic syndrome, early fertility decline, shorter lifespan, etc
What Research Says
- According to research exposure to chemicals used in the manufacture of nonstick cookware and stain-resistant materials can delay a girl’s first menstrual period.
- Likewise, plastic vessels, flame retardants, and antibacterial agents tend to cause early puberty and infertility. (e.g. triclosan – which is an antibacterial agent in certain toothpaste)
- Health experts also claim that day-to-day products/utensils made out of chemicals like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and BPA (bisphenol A) are harmful to the body. These chemicals act as a hormone and have serious adverse effects during the puberty stage.
Tips to Prevent Early Puberty
While there are many theories for precocious puberty, one can prevent it by following the below tips:
- Reduce obesity.
- Encourage your girl child to join a school or after school sport, dance class, or any other physical activity which is enjoyable for her.
- Reduce exposure to TV and gadgets.
- Teach simple exercise, meditation or relaxation skills
Preferred Diet to Prevent Early Puberty in Young Girls
Nutrition is one of the most important factors affecting pubertal development. In order to prevent early puberty, you can include the following food items in your child’s diet plan.
- Vegetables: e.g. cabbage, spinach, carrots, beetroot, asparagus, broccoli, parsley, etc
- Fruits. e.g. avocado, banana, orange, apples, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, etc
- Grains e.g. oats, whole wheat, quinoa, millets, etc
- Dry fruits, nuts, and seeds e.g. almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. etc
- Dairy products e.g. milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese, etc
- Fluids e.g. coconut water, fresh lime water, clear soups, herbal Infusions, and lots of natural water.
Food Items to Avoid
- Eliminate or minimize packed or processed foods from your child’s diet plan. These are calorie-dense and nutrient-poor. They promote obesity and other diseases.
- Stop soda and aerated drinks completely.
- Junk food like burger, pizza, samosa, vada pav, should be avoided.
- Minimize caffeine intake
The above diet plan is simple and easy to follow. However, if you need a precise child diet plan to prevent precocious puberty – get in touch with Kanupriya Khanna. A well-known child dietician in Delhi – Kanupriya will give you a clear-cut diet plan based on your child’s age, gender, and activity level.