In the last century, girls have undergone a curious change. The age at which they grow breasts and begin menstruating has dropped. 40 years ago, girls grew breasts 2 years later, and got their periods several months later. This might not seem like much, but the earlier that these events occur, the higher a woman’s risk of developing cancer in her lifetime.
This trend has been studied and noted for many years, notably in the Falling Age of Puberty… Study by the Breast Cancer Fund (click below)
The China Study and many others have noted the trend, and it is generally assigned to a number of factors. A rich diet, obesity, and hormones from meats and plastics have often been pointed to as causes.
A recent study singles out one factor as the cause- too much meat.
The research, led by Dr Imogen Rogers from the University of Brighton, involved a study of 3,000 girls taking part in the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s study.
The doctors looked at the girls’ dietary intake at the ages of three and seven years and how likely they were to have started their periods by the time they attended a research clinic aged around 12½ years.
They found that girls who had a higher intake of meat and protein at three and seven were more likely to have started their periods by 12½ years old than girls who ate less meat and protein.
Their report found 49 per cent of girls eating more than 12 portions of meat a week at the age of seven had started their periods by age 12 ½, compared to only 35 per cent of those who ate less than four portions of meat a week.
The experts are careful to emphasize that this in no way means that girls should become vegetarian. They can’t say that. So, if you are someone who just has to feed your family meat, cut back. Way back. Children are perfectly healthy on a balanced vegetarian diet, I promise you. The myth that more meat builds stronger kids is leading to such over-consumption that children are suffering for it later.
Feeding children a healthy diet can be challenging, but it’s worth doing. They need to be eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, anyway, so less meat just makes more room for those. Just don’t announce it and make it tasty.
For a previous post on the benefits of soy foods for girls, and a recipe for delicious chocolate pudding, click the link below.
Or try this simple vegan burrito recipe on foodista!