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Ann Hum Biol. 2006 Jan-Feb;33(1):55-63.

Association between overweight and early sexual maturation in Portuguese boys and girls.

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  • 1Research Centre in Physical Activity Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sports Sciences and Physical Education University of Porto, Portugal.



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between sexual maturation (SM), and the prevalence of overweight among boys and girls.


The sample of this cross-sectional study included 819 children and adolescents (382 boys and 437 girls), aged 10-15 years old randomly selected from 30 schools in the Porto region. Anthropometrical measurements (body height, weight and skinfolds thickness) were determined by standard anthropometrical methods. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from the ratio weight/height(2) (kg/m(2)). The sum of tricipital and subscapular skinfolds (TriSub) was also used. Physicians collected data on Tanner stages during physical examination. Subjects were grouped using the quartiles of the decimal age adjusted for Tanner stages of SM and gender.


The prevalence of overweight was higher in early maturing boys (30.5%) and early maturing girls (32.7%). The late maturers presented a lower prevalence (p < 0.05) of overweight (20.3% boys and 18.3% girls). Logistic regression analysis illustrates that early maturing is associated with an increased risk for overweight or obesity for boys (OR: 1.87 and 95% CI: 0.99-3.50) and girls (OR: 2.14 and 95% CI: 1.12-4.07), when compared with the boys and girls of the fourth quartile (p < 0.05).


We conclude that there is an association between early SM and the prevalence of overweight in both genders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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