Adopted children hit puberty earlier

September 19th, 2008 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Sep 19 (IANS) Internationally adopted children can undergo early puberty, facing later in life health risks like obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, a study has found.”It depends on their country of origin and on their living conditions up until their adoption,” said Hélène Delisle, a professor at the Montreal University department of nutrition and the study’s author.

“Many factors are at play, but a low birth weight that isn’t recuperated between ages zero and two, combined with an accelerated weight gain during childhood, would increase the risk of early puberty and chronic disease in adulthood.”

In Quebec, half the 900 children adopted every year are from China. Some girls begin puberty as early as eight and boys as early as 10-years-old, reports Eurekalert.

The beginning of puberty is greatly correlated to weight. Weight gain provokes the secretion of leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating appetite.

When calorie intake increases, leptin levels also increase which in turn provokes the secretion of GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone). This hormone regulates the development of ovulation and the menstrual cycle in women.

Therefore, a radical change in diet, as is often observed in children migrating to an industrialised country, can trigger puberty.

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