Background: Menarche is an important indicator for assessing the developmental status of pubertal girls. Despite its importance, there is no nationwide information on menarcheal age in Turkey.
Aim: This paper is the first attempt to examine age at menarche for Turkey as a whole. The aim is to present the secular trend of menarcheal age and variations across different socio-demographic groups.
Methods: Data were employed from the Turkey Demographic and Health Survey, 2008. Mean menarcheal ages were estimated for birth cohorts and socio-demographic sub-groups. The pace of decline in menarcheal age has been estimated using multiple linear regression analysis, controlling for year of birth and other variables.
Results: Mean age at menarche was estimated as 13.30 (95% CI = 13.26-13.35). It was estimated as 13.17 years (95% CI 12.95-13.38) for the youngest birth cohort (1989-1993), as opposed to 13.44 (95% CI 13.37-13.52) years for the cohort born in 1959-1968.
Conclusion: Regression analysis indicated a decrease of 1.44 months per decade, providing evidence of a secular trend in menarcheal age in Turkey. Further results suggested childhood place of residence, education, welfare status and number of siblings to be significantly associated with menarcheal age.