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Int J Androl. 2011 Oct;34(5 Pt 2):e435-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01173.x. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Pubertal development timing in urban Chinese boys.

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Department of Pediatrics, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.


We describe current pubertal development in healthy urban Chinese boys. A cross-sectional study of the pubertal development of 18,807 urban Chinese boys aged from 3.50 to 18.49years was conducted between 2003 and 2005. Testicular volume was evaluated with a Prader orchidometer. Pubic hair development was assessed according to the Tanner method. Data on spermarche were collected using the status quo method. Probit analysis was used to calculate the median age and 95% CI at different stages of testicular development, pubic hair development and spermarche. By age 9, 12.99% of the boys had a testicular volume of 4mL or greater. The median age of onset of puberty defined as the age at attainment of testicular volume of 4mL or greater was 10.55 (95% CI 10.27-10.79) years. The median age for onset of pubic hair development (PH(2) ) and spermarche was 12.78 (95%CI 12.67-12.89) years and 14.05 (95%CI 13.80-14.32) years, respectively. Pubertal onset in urban Chinese boys is earlier than currently used clinical norms but their pubic hair development occurs relatively late in comparison with the reported data from numerous other countries. There is also evidence of a secular trend towards an earlier age of spermarche since 1979 in Chinese urban boys.

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