A new study shows that overweight and obesity in young girls appear to speed puberty and rebuts the theory that girls who experience their first period at a relatively young age are predisposed to become obese as adults.
Pediatricians have noticed a correlation between overweight and "early menarche" in young girls and they have two competing theories about why this happens.
First theory says that excess body fat is a kind of reproductive signal that a girl is now healthy enough to sustain a pregnancy. The second theory rests on skeletal maturity. Children who are overweight have advanced bone development -- they grow faster in all ways, and they are usually taller than their non-overweight teenagers. So, they think that same sort of growth promotion could be linked to the early onset of the maturational change. But these theories have not been proven yet.
They were also trying to examine connection between early menarche and later obesity in adulthood.
They found out that maturational timing ( onset of first period ) was not an important factor for adult obesity, it is more a consequence of obese childhood.
Women who were overweight before their first period were 7.7 times more likely to be overweight as adults as women who were not.
So, the parents of girls who undergo early menarche shouldn't necessarily worry that their daughters will be obese in adulthood. Early menarche may be a part of normal growth and there is not any risk for later overweight.