What is Puberty?
Puberty is a significant physiologic event in human growth and biologic maturation. It is the process of physical change by which a child’s body develops into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. This is a milestone in a child’s life where maturity usually occurs in pre-teen to adolescent girls and boys with a four to five year physiological variation in age at puberty onset due to genetics, ethnicity, nutritional conditions, and secular trends.
Girls and boys are affected differently by the physical changes. Breast development is normally the first sign of puberty in girls followed by hair growth in the armpits and pubic areas with menstruation thereafter. In boys, puberty begins when the testicles and penis get bigger followed by hair growth in the armpits and pubic area, muscle growth, deepened voice, facial hair, and ejaculation.
Most parents feel their children grow too quickly, but studies are showing that the age of biological adulthood in American children is plunging. Precocious puberty is occurring in both girls and boys as early as age two. Unfortunately, this is caused by common endocrine system disruptors.
What is the Average Age of Puberty?
The average age of puberty is different for girls and boys. Girls normally enter puberty around the age of 10 to 11 years and end around 15 to 17 years. Boys enter around the age of 11 to 12 and end around 16 to 17.
However, the average age of puberty onset has been plummeting for nearly 160 years. With each passing decade, the age of onset has decreased by four to five months. Following is a list of years with ages of puberty onset for girls. Similar sets of figures have been reported for boys with a delay of one year.
What Age is Precocious or Early Puberty?
Precocious puberty is puberty that takes place at an unusually early age. It can occur in girls before the age of 8 and boys before the age of 9. Girls and African American children are apt to early development.
Shockingly, girls as young as two years old have been reported with early puberty. Following is a list of the ages of girls who have entered early puberty with case percentages from studies.
Studies have also shown that precocious puberty is positively linked with obesity. Studies have found that 14 to 29 percent of girls and 26 to 39 percent of boys are considered obese.
Why are Children Entering Precocious or Early Puberty?
Over the last few decades, there has been a growing concern over the adverse effects in humans from exposure to chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system. The system of the body secretes hormones in the body for regulation, and the effects of disruptors include the following.
What are Some Common Endocrine Disruptors?
Unfortunately, early puberty is occurring at an alarming rate due to these chemicals. Following are some common endocrine disruptors.
How Can I Help My Children Avoid Precocious Puberty?
The best thing you can do to help your children avoid precocious or early puberty is to keep them away from endocrine disrupting chemicals. Following are some tips to help you support them.
FEED A NUTRITIOUS WHOLEFOODS DIET
Feed your child a diet that is filled with certified organic and non-GMO foods. Include grass-fed meats, certified organic chicken and turkey, pasture-raised eggs, and wild-caught fish and seafood. Vegetables and limited fruits are also important as they are filled with nutrients – especially antioxidants that will fight the negative effects of harmful chemicals. Also, include healthy fats such as egg yolk, aged cheese, as well as nuts and seeds. Avoid pre-packaged, processed, and refined foods. Studies have also shown that sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and salt disrupt the endocrine system of children; therefore, it’s best to limit these.
GIVE PURE AND NON-TOXIC WATER
If your tap water comes from public systems, be sure to use a high quality filter such as a reverse osmosis system or a spring water system. Public water systems unfortunately contain a ton of harmful chemicals such as bromine, chlorine, and flourine. While these chemicals are meant to disinfect drinking water from harmful pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, they too are harmful as they block a very important receptor in the body called iodine which is needed to make thyroid hormones. Without these hormones, the body's metabolism and other functions cannot work properly. On another note, these same chemicals are in traditional toothpaste, so look for natural toothpastes.
INSURE AND ENSURE HEALTH WITH SUPPLEMENTS
For extra insurance, give your child high quality supplements that include a probiotic and Vitamin C. You may even want to supplement with Vitamin D if they don't go outside to play in the sun for at least 30 minutes per day. These supplements will ensure and protect your child's immune system and fight off free radicals. Following are some professional products you may want to consider that are known for being high quality and proving purity and potency.
FOREGO CHEWING GUM
Don’t let your child chew gum. Most contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, and aspartame which are harmful chemicals. Studies have shown that aspartame alters neurotransmitter regulation which can result in neuro-behavioral disturbances. This harmful chemical compromises the blood-brain barrier, increasing its permeability and altering concentrations in important chemicals for the brain such as catecholamines (dopamine being one of them). Aspartame is also in other processed foods, so always be sure to check package labels before buying.
AVOID PLASTIC FOOD CONTAINERS
Avoid plastic containers to store or heat your foods. While plastic is convenient to use, they all contain a variety of chemicals with different properties. Many of these chemicals are worrisome because they have been proven harmful to people who use them regularly. Experts also say that childhood exposure to plastics is of high concern. Therefore, only use glassware.
NEVER ALLOW MERCURY FILLINGS FOR CAVITIES
Though most dentists now use safer composite or white-colored fillings for cavities, some still use toxic dental amalgams. Those are the silver-colored fillings which are made of a combination of metals such as silver, tin, copper, and mercury. Though silver amalgams have been used for more than 150 years in dentistry, there has been a growing concern with the mercury in them. Mercury takes up half the weight in a filling, and studies now show that these types of fillings continuously release a mercury vapor into the mouth which is inhaled and absorbed by the body. This vapor raises concerns as the chronic low-level exposure to mercury can continually cause poisoning that lead to irritability, insomnia, poor physical coordination, tremors, kidney failure, memory loss, and more. Therefore, never allow your dentist to fill your child's cavity with silver fillings.
PLAY OUTSIDE IN THE SUN
Take your child outside to play for at least 30 minutes each day. After all, exercise and the sun promote proper development and immunity. Also, don’t use any sunscreen unless it is zinc oxide. Other sunscreens are filled with chemicals that alter hormones. Even zinc oxide doesn't need to be used unless your child is out in the sun for long periods of time.
LIVE IN A STRESS-FREE ZONE
Today's world make children vulnerable in numerous environments which can promote stress for them. Negative stress is not good for your child's development. Early life adversities alter brain development and cognitive, emotional, and systemic disorders throughout the life course. As a parent, be sure to take any pessimistic emotions out of their zone.
Love Your Child...
All in all, it comes down to loving your child in both the physical and emotional realms. As a parent, do your best in raising your child in a positive way with as little environmental and emotional hazards as possible. Eliminate the endocrine system disruptors and love care for your child in the best ways you can. Your reward is having a healthy and happy child.