The report from the University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital indicates that childhood obesity in the United States may be causing girls to reach puberty at an earlier age.

The study included a group of 354 girls and found that those who were fatter at age 3 and who gained weight during the next three years had earlier puberty onset by age 9.

The finding indicates that growing obesity rates in children may be contributing to earlier maturation in girls, which leads to further problems and adverse outcomes like psychiatric disorders and deficits in psychosocial functioning, earlier initiation of alcohol use, sexual intercourse and teenage pregnancy and increased rates of adult obesity and reproductive cancers. Statistics of these incidences prove the theory.
Previous studies could not determine if earlier puberty led to higher body mass index or if it were the other way around. The new study shows it is the latter.

Today, girls are reaching puberty earlier than it was the case 30 years ago. During this period rates of childhood obesity had also increased.
The study found that out of 354 girls followed, 168 were as being "in puberty" by the age of 9 and nearly two dozen had their first menstrual period by two years later.

Higher body mass index scores at all ages led to earlier onset of puberty.