Purpose: We wished to elucidate the relationships among body size variables and age of menarche for New Zealand girls.
Methods: Body size variables were measured repeatedly over eighteen years and age of menarche recorded for 415 girls enrolled in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study.
Results: Girls who were taller and heavier with a higher body mass index than their peers from 7 years of age reached menarche early: height was the most important determinant. Early maturing girls were overtaken in height by the later-maturing girls by fifteen but remained heavier even at eighteen. The daughters of tall mothers matured later. The mean weight at menarche was 41.4 kg, height 149.4 cm, body mass index 18.4, and age 12.9 years.
Conclusions: The daughters of short women matured early and continued growing heavier, but they stopped growing taller and were overtaken in height by the later-maturing daughters of tall women.