(NaturalNews) A study published in the August 9, 2010, issue of Pediatrics concluded American girls are undergoing puberty earlier than they were decades ago. While there are many reasons to be concerned about this conclusion, Americans may also want to consider how to prevent future generations from early onset. Dr. Frank Biro and his colleagues who published the study said they don't know what has caused the early onset of puberty, but many people believe that a Western diet has more to do with early puberty than others would like to realize.
What are some of the possible dietary causes of early puberty?
Eating Meat: Typical Western diets and, more specifically, American diets contain large portions of meat. Most meat available for purchase and consumption comes from CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). CAFOs fatten up their animals quickly, usually using growth hormones, steroids, and unnecessary antibiotics. Christina Pirello (a food authority) concludes that what Americans feed their food animals eventually feed people as well. If an animal ingests large amounts of hormones, those hormones will likely end up in a person's body, doing what hormones do, and one of the things hormones do is cause the onset of puberty.
Bisphenol A (BPA): BPA is a plastic used for a variety of things, from water bottles to the coating inside cans used to store food. The problem with BPA is that it leaches into the liquids found inside the bottle or can, and BPA has been proven to affect hormone levels. BPA has been linked to many hormonal problems, and there's no reason not to think that it could affect puberty as well.
Obesity: Few people today will argue that the standard American diet, consisting of high-fat and high-sugar processed foods, is linked to the rising rates of obesity in the United States. However, childhood obesity can likely even cause the early onset of puberty. Joyce Lee from the University of Michigan states that her research points to childhood obesity leading to early onset puberty; she says that it might be caused by the additional fat cells releasing hormones.
CAFOs, BPA, and large numbers of obese children were not factors in a Western diet 100 years ago, and 100 years ago the onset of puberty occurred at later ages. It is not easy to dismiss the likelihood that a Western diet has a large effect on the onset of puberty. And the early onset of puberty can cause many other problems, such as risky sexual behavior and breast cancer. With this knowledge, perhaps Americans can prevent future generations from sexual maturation at earlier ages.
Cindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101. Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.