A new study now claims that girls who start their periods at an early age have a higher risk of being overweight as adults.
While researchers aren't sure how early onset of puberty impacts body weight, but they think it might be due to the physical effects of hormonal changes. This leads to fat to be deposited in other parts of the body.
Earlier studies have already established a link between obesity and puberty, with increased body weight known to be a risk factor for girls starting puberty earlier.
The study, conducted by researchers at Imperial College London, suggests early onset of puberty is itself a risk factor for being overweight.
The average age girls start menstruating is 12, but about one-third of American girls are now entering puberty by the age of eight.
Lead author of the study, Dr Dipender Gill, said the new research helped untangle external factors, such as economic background, diet and education, to find an causal link between early puberty and a woman's risk of obesity.
Researchers found that people who started their puberty earlier, before the average age of 12, were more likely to be obese than those who started their period later....