Relationships between age of puberty onset and height at age 18 years in girls and boys
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Changes during puberty may influence final adult height. Height is related to multiple health conditions, including lung function. We investigated the association between the age of onset of five puberty events and height at age 18 years, analyzing boys and girls separately.
Of 1456 children recruited into the Isle of Wight birth cohort (1989–1990), 1313 were followed up at age 18 years. Height was measured, and age of pubertal onset was collected at age 18 years. Cluster analysis was performed on the five puberty events in boys and girls and linear regression was applied with the clusters predicting height at age 18 years. Individual linear regression analyses assessed the age of onset of each pubertal event as a potential predictor for height at age 18 years.
Of the 1313 children followed up at age 18 years, 653 were males and 660 were females. All puberty variables had high internal consistency. In girls, earlier age of menarche, breast development, and growth spurt were related to shorter height. In boys, earlier age of growth spurt and slower progression through puberty were related to taller height at age 18 years.
Given that boys and girls may have opposing associations between pubertal timing and adult height and that height is an important predictor of lung function, the effect of pubertal timing on respiratory health should be explored.
Key wordsheight puberty onset respiratory health
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