Why Are Eight Year Olds Hitting Puberty?

Why do girls, uh, "develop" so much earlier than they used to? The going age these days for "the first visible sign of puberty, breast budding" is apparently now eight — seven for African American girls. And if phrases like "breast budding" still make you grimace, well, imagine all that shit happening when you were still of a Santa Claus-semi-believing age. (I didn't even know how babies were made when I was eight. I thought they were all made like Jesus.) Anyway! Okay and before you blame hormones in the milk: 100 years ago, the average European girl got her period at SEVENTEEN. It's an inexorable trend! It will not stop until your baby daughter develops breasts as you're breast-feeding her.

Oh Jesus fuck that actually happened.

There have always been rare cases of extremely early puberty, called precocious puberty. One report, going back to 1834 in Butler County, Ky., was of a baby girl whose hips and breasts began to grow soon after she was born. By the age of 1, she was menstruating and at age 10, she gave birth to a 7-pound baby. Such extreme cases today would be examined and treated.

But in all seriousness, most doctors believe early puberty is probably just an effect of the chubbier kids syndrome, which sucks for chubby kids because most of them really don't need another reason to feel awkward. And there are other theories; environmental factors, stress, etc. It's still a mystery. And problematic, to be sure, if you're worried about your little girl getting mistaken for ...uh, something other than a little girl. So I guess...starve the child to save her childhood? There's a silver lining to those unattainable standards of pre-pubescence perpetuated by Teen Vogue? Fuck if I know. Parenting is tough.

Girl, You'll Be A Woman Sooner Than You Expected [LA Times]