• Earlier Onset Of Menstruation Linked To Sugary Drinks

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    “Sugary drinks may cause menstruation to start earlier, study suggests,” reports The Guardian, reporting on a US study looking at the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in teenage girls.

    This study included over 5,000 girls. It first assessed them when they were aged 9-14 years, asking them whether they had started their periods and assessing their consumption of SSBs. The girls were followed up annually.

    Girls who frequently consume sugary drinks tend to start their menstrual periods earlier than girls who do not, according to new research.

    In the first study to look at the relation between sugar-sweetened drinks and the age at which girls have their first period, researchers followed 5583 girls, aged 9-14 years between 1996 and 2001.

    The findings published in the journal Human Reproduction, are important not only because of the growing problem of childhood obesity in a number of developed countries, but also because starting periods earlier is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer later in life.

    In the paper, the authors conclude: “Our findings suggest that frequent consumption of SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages] may be associated with earlier menarche…The amount of SSBs consumed by girls in our highest category of consumption, more than 1.5 servings per day, however, is likely low compared with consumption in certain other populations, in …

    There is a potential long-term effect to early menstruation: Girls who start their periods earlier face a heightened risk of getting breast cancer when they are older (PDF). According to the study released Tuesday, each year earlier that a girl starts menstruating is associated with a 5 percent increase in breast cancer risk. With these girls starting their periods an average of a few months earlier, the drinks had what the researchers called a “modest impact.”

    Unlike the genetic factors that contribute to the age at which a girl gets her first period, diet is controllable. “This is a risk factor that children and their parents can modify,” Carwile said. “It’s already recommended that children limit their soda consumption, but this is additional rationale to do so.”

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