Obesity and high blood sugar in mothers may lead to early onset of puberty in girl children, says a new study. The study that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, said that maternal overweight may result in early puberty in their daughters, leading to many adverse health developments in adulthood. The study was conducted by Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and looked at more than 15,000 mothers and their daughters to establish a link between maternal obesity and risks of early puberty in their female offsprings.

The determining factor of early onset of puberty was taken as an early development of breasts in girls. While maternal obesity (characterised by a BMI of 30 or more) raised a 40 per cent chance of early breast development in girls, overweight (characterised by a BMI between 25 and 30) increased the chance by a 20 per cent, in girls between the ages of six and 11. Lead author of the study and research scientist Ai Kubo said, "We know that maternal weight can influence childhood weight. What we are learning is that the utero environment may also affect the timing of future pubertal development in offspring, which makes sense since human brains are developed in utero and the brain releases hormones affecting puberty."

Another determining factor for earlier onset of puberty was development of public hair in girls. The study also found a significant link between high blood sugar and earlier development of breasts. However, the same was not found to be true in the case of women suffering from gestational diabetes. Kubo said that this was probably because gestational diabetes patients were more careful about their blood sugar levels and body weight, due to the diagnosis. He says that the diagnosis and special care in the case of gestational diabetes may result in a change in the amount of weight gain and offspring development patterns, but that more studies were needed to "replicate the finding to be able to conclude that there is an association."

Girls who experience an early onset of puberty tend to be at an increased risk of diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and even cancer during adolescence and adulthood, in some cases.

(With IANS Inputs)