Birth weight, postnatal growth, and age at menarche

Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Jul 1;170(1):72-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp095. Epub 2009 May 13.


Larger body size in childhood is correlated with earlier age at menarche; whether birth and infant body size changes are also associated with age at menarche is less clear. The authors contacted female participants enrolled in the New York site of the US National Collaborative Perinatal Project born between 1959 and 1963 (n = 262). This racially and ethnically diverse cohort (38% white, 40% African American, and 22% Puerto Rican) was used to investigate whether maternal (body size, pregnancy weight gain, age at menarche, smoking) and birth (birth weight, birth length, placental weight) variables and early infant body size changes were associated with age at menarche even after considering later childhood body size. Higher percentile change in weight from ages 4 months to 1 year was associated with earlier age at menarche even after adjustment for later childhood growth (beta = -0.15, 95% confidence interval: -0.27, -0.02 years per 10-percentile change in weight from ages 4 months to 1 year). The association was in the same direction for all 3 racial/ethnic groups but was largest for the white group. These New York Women's Birth Cohort Adult Follow-up data (2001-2006) suggest that infant weight gain, in addition to childhood weight gain, may be associated with earlier age at menarche.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Menarche / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires