Boys are now entering puberty at a younger age, according to a study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics at its national conference on Saturday.
A study of records from about 200 pediatricians across 41 states, containing information on 4,131 boys ages 6 to 16, estimates that boys show signs of puberty six months to two years earlier than reported in previous research. Additionally, girls now show breast development earlier than in the past.
Historically, pediatricians were taught that boys generally begin puberty at 11-1/2 years old, but the study suggests that a new trend has boys developing sooner. However, its unclear why.
The study did mention that changes in diet, less physical activity and environmental factors could be possibilities.
“This should perhaps set a standard going forward for being very attentive to puberty in boys and being mindful that they’re developing earlier,” Dolores J. Lamb, a molecular endocrinologist at Baylor College of Medicine and president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine told the New York Times.