Is puberty starting earlier in urban South Africa?
Article first published online: 6 JAN 2009
Copyright © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Human Biology
Volume 21, Issue 3, pages 395–397, May/June 2009
How to Cite
Jones, L. L., Griffiths, P. L., Norris, S. A., Pettifor, J. M. and Cameron, N. (2009), Is puberty starting earlier in urban South Africa?. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 21: 395–397. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20868
- Issue published online: 6 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 6 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 26 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Received: 15 OCT 2008
- Medical Research Council of South Africa
- Anglo-American Chairman's Fund
- Child, Youth, Family, and Social Development of the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa
- University of the Witwatersrand
- Wellcome Trust (UK)
- South African National Research Foundation
- Parkes Foundation
- Child Growth Foundation
Age at the initation of pubertal development was estimated for 401 Black (212 boys) and 206 White (100 boys) urban South African adolescents born in Soweto-Johannesburg in 1990. Average age at the initation of puberty, assessed by age at the transition from Tanner Stage 1 to Tanner Stage 2 for breast/genitalia or pubic hair development ranged between 9.8 and 10.5 years. There were no statistically significant differences in age at initiation between genders or ethnic groups. Age at the initation of pubertal development has remained stable over the last 10 to 15 years, with the exception of pubic hair in boys which has declined on average 1.3 years over a decade. There is evidence to suggest that the tempo of pubertal maturation is increasing in girls born in the Soweto-Johannesburg area, however, the evidence is less clear for boys. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.