The onset of puberty is associated with high GnRH pulsing, which precedes the rise in sex hormones, LH and FSH. Exogenous GnRH pulses cause the onset of puberty. Brain tumors which increase GnRH output may also lead to premature puberty.
The cause of the GnRH rise is unknown. Leptin might be the cause of the GnRH rise. Leptin has receptors in the hypothalamus which synthesizes GnRH. Individuals who are deficient in leptin fail to initiate puberty. The levels of leptin increase with the onset of puberty, and then decline to adult levels when puberty is completed.
Also, maybe there are some studies looking at BMI and age of puberty onset?
Pediatric Research in Office Settings puberty data by comparing the age-normalized body mass index (BMI-ZS; a crude estimate of fatness) of girls who had breast or pubic hair development versus those who were still prepubertal, looking at the effects of age and race.
For white girls, the BMI-ZS were markedly higher in pubertal versus prepubertal 6- to 9-year-olds; for black girls, a smaller difference was seen, which was significant only for 9-year-olds. Higher BMI-ZS also were found in girls who had pubic hair but no breast development versus girls who had neither pubic hair nor breast development. A multivariate analysis confirms that obesity (as measured by BMI) is significantly associated with early puberty in white girls and is associated with early puberty in black girls as well, but to a lesser extent.
Early adolescence is enabled by access to food. Prolonged adolescence is enabled by access to someone else's money.
“Adolescence” is socially constructed. It's a cultural phenomenon, not a biological one.
Intuitively it seems to me that prolonged adolescence is going to come hand-in-hand with prolonged middle age and prolonged old age and prolonged lifespans, period. -- XMLicious
Actually, I was thinking more about how I babysat at the age of 12 and that most of the 12 year olds I know still NEED baby sitters. -- Ruthless Bunny
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