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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > Pre-teen Latinas and black girls grow up too fast when it comes to puberty

Pre-teen Latinas and black girls grow up too fast when it comes to puberty

LatinaLista — It seems that for all those parents who want to keep their little girls little girls, for as long as possible, that job just got a lot harder.

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A new study about girls starting puberty, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that it’s become more common for girls to start puberty at earlier ages than used to be the case. However, for Latinas and black preteens, the rate of moving earlier into womanhood is far higher than for white pre-teens.

According to the study, among 7-year-old girls who began forming breasts 10 percent were white; 23 percent black and 15 percent Latina. Among 8-year-olds, 18 percent were white, 43 percent black and 31 percent Latina.

While the study has been cited for not being complete, all experts believe the study documents a statistic that keeps falling and which represent what has been happening in communities across the nation over time.

Medical experts believe that the early onset of puberty in girls is due from a combination of factors: obesity, environmental and genetics.

While each of those elements is reasonable as a factor in early puberty, one has to wonder why it is so much more prevalent among black girls and Latinas.

Starting puberty early is not a good thing according to researchers because it increases the chance of the girls developing breast cancer later in life. So what are the differences between more girls of color developing faster than their white counterparts?

It would have been helpful to know the socioeconomic status of the girls.

From an anecdotal perspective, those families that can afford to keep their children active, from extracurricular sports to belonging to organized groups; who can afford access to buying “healthy” foods and who keep their children from taking on adult stresses of the family seem to be the families where the little girls stay little girls a little while longer — until they start dressing like Lady Gaga.

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