Children today are reaching puberty at far younger ages than ever before. understands that this has become a big concern for parents everywhere. One of the first questions being asked is how this early onset of physical maturity can affect their children’s health and well-being. There has been information that early puberty may be associated with cancers like prostate and breast cancer that are hormone-related. As often as questions are asked about why this has occurred in our society, the answers have been few and far between.

New research published in the Journal of Nutrition has linked the consumption of high levels of meat and dairy with the early onset of puberty. It goes further to suggest that eating more vegetable protein can, in fact, be associated with the late onset of puberty.

The study originated at the Department of Nutritional, Food and Consumer Sciences at Fulda University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Dietary records were provided from 112 participants for their children at 12 months old, 18 to 24 months old, three to four years old and then again at 5 to 6 years old. After the age of 6 and until the age of 13, the participants provided information regarding the onset of puberty in both boys and girls.

It was discovered that the children consuming more animal protein (meat and dairy) between the ages of 5 and 6 had an earlier onset of puberty. Those children who consumed a higher level of vegetable protein were more likely to experience a later onset.

The study took into consideration other factors that might be an influence on the age of the children entering puberty. Things like gender, how long they were breastfed, and parental education levels were factored into the results.

All developed countries have been experiencing the same phenomenon regarding the age at which children begin to physically mature. It’s certainly worth noting that all developed countries have higher levels of animal protein consumption.

There have been past studies that have linked early puberty with obesity, environmental chemicals and food additives. Certainly this new information fits in with the other factors that have been pointed out in the past. Parents who are concerned about this for their children may want to include more vegetable proteins in their diets early in life, while lowering meat and dairy consumption in addition to helping them avoid processed foods and encouraging them to exercise. hopes that this information will help parents in our community to continue to make the healthiest choices possible for their families.

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