Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 1379–1386 | Cite as

Birth characteristics and age at menarche: results from the dietary intervention study in children (DISC)

  • Elizabeth H. RuderEmail author
  • Terryl J. Hartman
  • Michael J. Rovine
  • Joanne F. Dorgan
Original paper



To examine whether birth weight, birth length, and gestational age are individually associated with age at menarche.


Analyses were conducted using data from n = 278 female participants in the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC). Age at menarche was prospectively collected as part of the original DISC investigation. DISC participants self-reported birth weight, birth length, and gestational age with assistance from their mothers and other records as part of the DISC06 Follow-up Study at ages 25–29. Linear regression was used to estimate the association of birth characteristics and age at menarche.


Birth weight was positively associated with age at menarche (p ≤ 0.01) in multiple regression analyses after controlling for BMI-for-age percentile, race and DISC treatment group. No statistically significant relationships were detected between either length or gestational age and age at menarche.


Higher birth weight may be associated with a modest delay in age at menarche.


Menarche Birth weight Birth length Gestational age Puberty Breast cancer 



The work described was supported by Grant Number R01CA104670 from the National Cancer Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© US Government 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth H. Ruder
    • 1
    Email author
  • Terryl J. Hartman
    • 2
  • Michael J. Rovine
    • 3
  • Joanne F. Dorgan
    • 4
  1. 1.Cancer Prevention Fellowship ProgramNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional SciencesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.Fox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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