The number of girls starting puberty before age 8 is more than double what it was just a generation ago! And this is a problem: scientific research has shown that earlier development can lead to health issues, both in the short and long term, including increasing lifetime breast cancer risk.
Puberty is controlled by sex hormones, which are influenced by behaviors and some chemicals in our environment. Girls today have different lifestyles than previous generations. For example, they have fewer opportunities to be active and new distractions that can make it harder to get enough sleep. Kids are also exposed to more and different chemicals that affect hormones. Scientists think that these changes have led to puberty starting earlier than ever before.
Fortunately, simple actions can help delay or slow down a girl’s development and support a healthy puberty and a healthy life. Zero Breast Cancer created the Girls’ New Puberty campaign to promote health and wellness in girls before and during puberty. This campaign is based on The New Puberty, a book written by experts and ZBC partners Louise Greenspan, MD, and Julianna Deardorff, PhD.
Ideas in the Girls’ New Puberty campaign are designed to fit our busy lives and not cost a lot of money. You can make an impact in the lives of girls you know by helping them start healthy habits in childhood, well before puberty begins. You can also help them prepare for the physical, social and emotional changes as they develop.
Click here to check out our eguide. We hope that you will find these science-based ways you can encourage girls’ lifelong health and wellness useful and share them with friends and family!
Written by Catherine Thomsen, ZBC Program Director