Parents teach a young African American girl how to ride a bike.

Our materials for Girls’ New Puberty are helping parents and caregivers of girls under 8 years old reduce the likelihood of early puberty. You may ask yourself, why does it matter to an organization whose goal is to prevent breast cancer whether girls start developing early?

Starting puberty before the age of 8 is a known risk for breast cancer. While people commonly think puberty begins when a girl starts her period, breast budding is usually the first sign of puberty. Girls whose breasts bud before the age of 8 may not begin menstruating earlier than their peers; however, scientists hypothesize that the extended exposure to hormones when breast development occurs earlier can increase the likelihood that breast cells undergo genetic changes that increase the risk of breast cancer later in life.

In our Girls’ New Puberty campaign materials, the relationship between early puberty and breast cancer is mentioned but not emphasized. Research shows that focusing on positive actions people can take motivates behavior more than highlighting the scary reasons these actions should be taken.

Among our accomplishments in 2019, we saw a 300% increase in Facebook likes, our most popular video Las niñas y la nueva pubertad: Video de 19 consejos para una pubertad sana reach 1.2K views, and over 400 people request our ebook. We also piloted an email campaign, which on average met or exceeded industry standards in open and click-through rates.

For 2020, we’re exploring ways we can reach pre-pubescent girls directly with health and wellness activities that can reduce the likelihood of early puberty, and therefore their lifetime risk of breast cancer. Stay tuned!


Article written by Lianna Hartmour, ZBC Program Director

Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna from Pexels

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