New research determined that late puberty might lead to health disadvantages later in life. The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Bristol and gathered the information of over 6,300 children from Great Britain.
To get more accurate results, researchers had the help of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
ALSPAC recorded the data of each pregnant woman that lived in the southwest of England between April 1991 and December 1992. The children born in that period were kept under observation for over two decades. During that time, the researchers kept measuring their height at various intervals. Also, the researchers measured their bone density regularly at ages 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 25.
Late puberty might have health disadvantages in adulthood
These data were then analyzed with other data such as birth weight, socioeconomic status, body mass index, and early life diet. The team of scientists discovered that the girls hit puberty at the average age of 11.5. The boys were late to develop, hitting puberty at the average age of 13.5, but their bone mineral density built up faster than for girls.
The teens that hit puberty earlier than the other ones had a better chance to have healthy and stronger bones later in life. The problems that could develop later in their lives are related to the strength of bones. By having a later development can lead to a lower bone density, which can cause a higher risk of bones breaking. This means that, as adults, they risk developing osteoporosis and can fracture more easily their bones.
The research determined that an increase of just 10% of the mineral density of bones means that osteoporosis can be postponed by 13 years. Researchers advise people that hit puberty later in life to lead a healthy lifestyle and to exercise more to strengthen their bones.