Higher red meat intake during childhood is linked to early age at menarche while fatty fish intake is linked with later menarcheal age

Emobileclinic Researchers’ corner

Emobileclinic Reporter: Femi Fayomi

Many females have wondered if it were a nice thing for menstruation to begin early in life. May be there is any risk associated with starting menstrual period early? (Menarche). Does menarche has to do with diet?  I found this new research interesting, as it seems to answer all these questions. The researchers observed the role of red meat and found out that higher red meat intake during childhood is linked to early age at menarche while fatty fish intake is linked with later menarcheal as published on American Society for Nutrition. According to the lead researcher; Eduardo Villamor of department of Epidemiology at UMICH, there study was out to find the relationship between red meat and earlier menarche knowing fully well that ‘’early age at menarche is associated with increased breast cancer risk’’.

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Menarche, the first menstrual period, is a recognizable marker of puberty. An early age at menarche has long been associated with breast and endometrial cancers, obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. In addition, early menarche has been related to risk factors during adolescence including alcohol and tobacco use, early sexual debut, and teenage pregnancy.The researchers focused on kids consumption of redmeat between the ages of 5-12years and the age at menarche in the study noting that the median age was 12..4 years

There is substantial variability in the timing of menarche across populations and a secular trend toward earlier menarche within countries. This suggests that the timing of puberty may be responsive to changes in environmental conditions according to the research. There is some heterogeneity in this evidence, however, because another recent study in a large group of US girls found no association between dairy or meat intake at ages 9–14 years and age at menarche. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is differences in the timing of dietary assessments because intake around the time of puberty onset may be less relevant than earlier childhood diet, as this new study reveals.

The study was conducted in the context of the Bogotá School Children Cohort, an ongoing longitudinal investigation of nutrition and health in school-age children.The study involved the parents of 1027 children to answer diet questionnaires on the childhood diets of their kids. (531 girls and 496 boys) After taken into consideration energy intake, maternal parity, socioeconomic status, it was discovered that red meat was not associated with the age at menarche but when compared with girls who eat red meat less than 4 times in a week, those who eat not more than 2 times in a week had a significantly earlier age at menarche. The researcher however found that girls who eat canned tuna/sardine more than once in a week had a significantly later age at menarche.

semen quality pic

Although earlier studies had reported associations between intake of animal foods and age at menarche, the new study substantially extends previous findings by examining intake frequency of specific categories of animal food sources in mid-childhood. The association of red meat intake frequency and age at menarche is generally consistent with previous studies that linked prepubertal consumption of animal protein and food sources to earlier puberty.The study recommends that future studies should examine the role of particular components of red meat, including micronutrients and by-products of processing, on the timing of sexual maturation. The study also found an association between frequent red meat intake and height, BMI, socioeconomic status and energy intake. Worthy to mention that the result remain unchanged even when other dairy and poultry intake was added.

The study concluded that higher red meat intake frequency during childhood is associated with an earlier age at menarche, whereas greater fatty fish intake frequency is associated with a later menarcheal age.


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