Dr Oz did a show called “What’s Happening to Our Nation’s Girls?” where he discussed how girls are starting puberty as young as 7 years old. I had heard that puberty was starting earlier and earlier, but I did not realize even 7 years old go through puberty sometimes. Could early puberty be a warning sign for future women’s health issues? Doctor Oz said an increasing number of girls are showing signs of puberty at age 7, and African American girls are even more likely to go through an Early Puberty. What is causing this early puberty? Could to be changes in our diet? The obesity epidemic among our children? Or chemicals found in suntan lotion, nail polish and makeup? Going through puberty early may have serious medical consequences because that means a girl is exposed to estrogen for a longer period of time. What can you do to protect your daughters?
Dr Oz was joined by Dr Jennifer Ashton, author of the Body Scoop for Girls, and Dr Louise Greenspan, who is doing a 10 year national study on environmental causes of early puberty.
Early Puberty Cause: Food Supply
Greenspan told Dr Oz that animals are treated with hormones to make them grow faster and bigger, but we are not yet sure if these hormones are transmitted to our children when they eat the animals and if this is what causes early puberty. Dr Oz said that he does not want his kids to be part of this experiment, and I agree 100%, which is why I try to only eat organic meat and chicken even though it costs more. I can’t help you with the price of organic meat, but I do want to point out that you can enter this giveaway to win Organic Lollipops on our newly launched sister site (OpinionQueen.com)! And I will continue to look for ways to make organic food more affordable for us 🙂
Early Puberty Cause: Personal Hygiene Products
The second potential cause for early puberty are the chemicals in personal hygiene products, flame retardants and pesticides. If it is not time for a kid to go through puberty yet, estrogen will not fill estrogen receptors. However, the concern is that things in our environment may act as Endocrine Disruptors to activate Estrogen Receptors that should not yet be activated.
Early Puberty Cause: Obesity
Dr Oz did a demonstration to show how a normal girl has androgens (hormones) and when you pour fat onto the hormones, it turns on its ability to make estrogen so the girls get a tiny amount of estrogen. But what happens if you have abnormally high amounts of fat? Well the girls have the same amount of Androgens, but the extra fat activates the hormones too much so that the girl’s estrogen levels become way too high.
Medical Consequences of Early Puberty
Early puberty in a girl can have medical consequences. For example, early breast development means early estrogen exposure, so the girls are at a higher risk for Uterine Cancer and Breast Cancer. Another example is that girls who are overweight are much more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
Psychological Consequences of Early Puberty
Girls who are 7-9 years old want to be just like their friends. If they are growing hair where their friends are not, this can really hurt their self esteem.
Social Consequences of Early Puberty
Dr Oz seemed horrified on this point, as am I. If you are an 8 year old girl who looks more like a 12 year old girl, you could be getting attention from 12-16 year old guys.
How to Prevent Early Puberty:
1. Avoid feeding girls (and kids in general) not just fats, but sugars too. Eat more from the farm and less from the factory… more fruits and vegetables and less sweets. Also, opt for hormone free or organic milk and meat. Generally limit animal fats and choose fish instead.
2. Give your kids water in stainless steel water bottles in their lunch boxes. Plastic bottles could have been heated and then cooled, and the heat can make the plastic leak chemicals into the water.
3. Never microwave in plastic. Use glass or another container, even if a plastic container says it is microwave safe. Do not cover food with plastic wrap (just like yesterday’s Dr Oz segment on how Microwaving Plastic Wrap is Toxic).
4. Personal care products have lots of chemicals in them, so wear a hat or long sleeves instead of sunscreen. Of course, use sunscreen on your face and areas that clothing can’t cover. You can even find shirts that your kids can swim in!