OBJECTIVES: To estimate secular trend and factors influencing the age at menarche for Chinese girls born from 1973 to 2004.
METHODS: Data were collected from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, a prospective open cohort and an ongoing nationwide health and nutrition survey, consisting of 3199 apparently healthy Chinese girls aged 6 to 18 years at entry from 1991 to 2011. Average age at menarche and its 95% confidence interval were estimated by weighted means of Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Cox proportional hazard models were applied to identify the independent predictive factors of age at menarche.
RESULTS: The age at menarche declined from 14.25 in Chinese girls born before 1976 to 12.60 in girls born after 2000, with an estimated decline of 0.51 years per decade (P < .001). The downward trend of age at menarche for rural girls was greater than for urban girls (0.62 vs 0.35 years per decade; P < .001). Girls living in urban areas, living in central areas, with high BMI, and with high-energy diets had a high risk of early menarche, whereas girls living on the east coast who had high-carbohydrate diets had a low risk of early menarche.
CONCLUSIONS: The authors of this study found a continuous downward secular trend of age at menarche for Chinese girls in both urban and rural areas born from 1973 to 2004. Among all variables, urban residency, BMI, and energy intake are negatively associated with age at menarche, whereas carbohydrate intake is positively associated with age at menarche.
- Accepted May 12, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics