Author + information
- Seyed Jalil Maassoumi and
- Mohammad Hassan Eftekhari
To investigate the association between weight status (measured as BMI), type of obesity, and menarcheal age among a sample of adolescent girls.
A cross-sectional study was performed in Shiraz, a region of southern Iran. 475 girls who were examined as children and adolescents (mean age, 14 y) were selected by systematic random sampling among all students in grades 1 to 4 from high schools for girls. Anthropometric assessments included measurement of weight, height, waist and hip circumference. Body mass index was calculated according to age and gender-specific BMI growth charts for children 2 to 20 years of age, whereas fat distribution was estimated by using waist-to-hip ratio. The girls' maturity status was assessed from exact recalled date of menarche.
19.7% were at risk for overweight and 11.2% were overweight. The severity of waist circumference increased as BMI increased. We found a statistically significant decline in menarcheal age in overweight compared to normal body weight adolescent girls (11.6 years vs 12.15 years, p<0.001). Using stepwise regression analysis, it was found that among variables studied, only waist circumference contributed to menarcheal age (r= −0.46, p<0.001).
Age of menarche is occurring earlier in girls with higher waist circumference, which is associated with higher BMI. Because of potentially harmful effects of excess body fat on development of cardiovascular disease risk factors, interventions to prevent and treat overweight should focus on girls before they begin puberty.