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A recent study indicates that the COVID pandemic has led to a notable increase in early puberty among girls. This rise is attributed to factors like increased sedentary behavior, more screen time, and reduced physical activity during lockdowns, as suggested by researchers from the Endocrine Society.

Precocious puberty reportedly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic

Early puberty, scientifically referred to as precocious puberty, is characterized by the premature onset of adult physical development in children, often occurring prior to the age of eight. Additionally, there exists an association between COVID and certain health issues such as obesity, which is acknowledged as a contributing element to the early commencement of puberty, particularly in girls.

Recent investigations have revealed a noteworthy escalation in the quantity of female individuals requiring consultation with pediatric endocrinologists due to concerns of precocious puberty within the last twenty-four months.

University of Genoa’s Professor Mohamad Maghnie said that research validates the increase in early-onset puberty diagnoses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while also pinpointing influential elements such as suboptimal dietary and physical activity patterns, excessive screen engagement, and compromised sleep quality. Maghnie said that they observed a rise in the phenomenon of weight gain among female individuals diagnosed with early-onset puberty amidst the pandemic. Furthermore, there has been a notable surge in body mass, correlating with accelerated progression of pubertal maturation.

Girls with diagnosis of early puberty had elevated BMI

The group conducted an examination into the incidence of early puberty in 133 young females from Italy before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also investigated the plausible associations between the pandemic and associated alterations in lifestyle.

During the span of four years leading up to the pandemic, the investigators observed 72 instances of early puberty. In contrast, between the period of March 2020 and June 2021 alone, they detected 61 cases. Moreover, it was highlighted that girls who received a diagnosis of early puberty amid the COVID-19 pandemic generally displayed elevated body mass index (BMI) figures compared to those who did not receive such diagnoses.