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Age at menarche in contemporary Greek girls: evidence for levelling-off of the secular trend


Anastasios Papadimitriou, M.D., Third Department of Pediatrics, University of Athens School of Medicine, ‘Attikon’ University Hospital, Rimini 1 Street, Athens 124 64, Greece.Tel: +30-210-5832046 | Fax: +30-210-5832229 | Email:


Aim: To examine the secular trend of menarcheal age in Greek girls during the last decade.

Methods: Seven hundred and fifty senior high schoolgirls were asked through a questionnaire to report their date of menarche, participation in physical activities and their weight status at menarche. The data were compared with those of a study of 1996.

Results: Mean age at menarche (±SD) in 2006 was 12.29 (1.19) and in 1996 it was 12.27 (1.13) years, p = 0.73. Maternal menarcheal age was 13.02 (1.32). There was a significant correlation between age at menarche of the schoolgirls and their mothers, p < 0.0001. There was a significant difference in the age at menarche according to the schoolgirls' perceived weight status. Menarcheal age of obese girls (n = 56) was 11.73 (1.21) years, of normal weight girls (n = 474) was 12.29 (1.21) years and of lean girls (n = 220) was 12.42 (1.14) years, p < 0.001. There was no significant difference in the age at menarche between the girls that participated, 12.23 (1.19), and those that did not participate in sporting activities, 12.32 (1.19), p = 0.31.

Conclusion: Levelling-off of the age at menarche over the last 10 years occurred in Greek girls living in Athens. Menarcheal age is influenced by the weight status and maternal menarcheal age.