A new literature review, published in Obesity Reviews, suggests that daughters born of mothers with obesity or overweight are more likely to enter puberty prematurely compared to those born of mothers with a healthy weight.
Researchers in Anhui, China have found that maternal overweight and obesity may increase the risk of early pubertal development in female offspring. Huang and colleagues conducted a review of 12 cohort studies across various databases, including PubMed, Wiley, ScienceDirect and CNKI, to assess possible associations between pre-pregnancy BMI or gestational weight gain in mothers and the timing of pubertal onset in their daughters. They found that both higher pre-pregnancy BMI and excessive gestational weight gain had a significant statistical association with earlier pubescence in daughters.
Early onset of puberty is associated with various adverse health consequences, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Studies also indicate that girls who enter puberty earlier are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression and have an increased risk of drug abuse. The average age of female pubescence has declined since the late 19th century, thereby increasing these risks.
The study is the first systematic review to investigate the association between maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain and the timing of daughters’ puberty onset. The discovery that higher pre-pregnancy BMI and excessive weight gain in pregnancy may hasten the onset of daughters’ puberty has major implications for future public health practice and research, and sheds new light on the determinants of premature pubescence.
The full study, Maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index, gestational weight gain and pubertal timing in daughters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies, is available to read in Obesity Reviews.
About Obesity Reviews
Obesity Reviews is the official reviews journal of the World Obesity Federation, publishing reviews on all disciplines related to obesity and its comorbidities. With an Impact Factor of 9.213, it is the highest ranked obesity journal (ISI Journal Citation Reports).OBESITY REVIEWS