Maturational Timing and Overweight Prevalence in US Adolescent Girls

Am J Public Health. 2001 Apr;91(4):642-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.4.642.


Objectives: This study examined the relation of age at menarche to overweight in US adolescent girls.

Methods: Effects of age at menarche and race/ethnicity on overweight were estimated via logistic regression, after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, in a sample of 6507 Hispanic, Black, White, and Asian American girls who participated in wave 2 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

Results: Overweight prevalence rates were significantly higher in early maturing adolescents of all racial/ethnic groups but highest (57.5%) among early maturing Black girls. Early maturation nearly doubled the odds of being overweight (body mass index at or above the 85th percentile).

Conclusions: Greater public health attention should be focused on the high prevalence of overweight, particularly among minority female adolescents.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Menarche / physiology*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • United States / epidemiology