Background: The beginning and evolution of physiological puberty may be occurring earlier, resulting in change in the age at which clinical investigation on precocious puberty must be conducted, as well as concerns regarding the possible deleterious effects of hormone exposure in a later stage of life.
Objective and hypotheses: Assess age of beginning and evolution of puberty in boys and girls acknowledging the age of thelarche (T), menarche (M), period between thelarche and menarche (PTM) among girls, Tanner staging in boys and pubarche (P) in both.
Method: A random sample of 1095 students from the city of Uberaba aged 518 years comprised 665 (60.7%) girls and 430 (39.3%) boys were assessed. Characteristics associated with puberty were answered by the participants and parents through questionnaires and pictures representing stages of development according to Tanner.
Results: Among girls the mean age of T, P, M, and PTM occurred respectively at 9.8±1.4; 10.2±1.4; 11.7±1.3; and 1.7±1.3 years. Considering the third percentile, the cut-off age for precocious puberty (PP) would be <7 years old. For this value, the prevalence of PP among girls was 0.6% compared with 2.7% for the classical value <8 years old. The mean age among the boys at Tanners stage 2 of genital development and pubic hair onset was 11.3±1.7 and 11.1±1.5 years respectively.
Conclusion: In girls, puberty occurred earlier than expected if we consider the third percentile and longitudinal follow-up of them as well as investigation to rule out any precocious puberty eventually present in this studied population is mandatory. In clinical practice, it would be premature to change the age limit for investigation of PP.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology