Document Type : Original article


1 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Nutrition & Food Policy Research, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Nutrition Sciences, Varastegan Institute of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Health Sciences Research Center, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran

5 Department of Biochemistry & diet therapy, School of Nutrition, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

6 Department of Nutrition Research, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Epidemiologic studies have shown a discrepancy between overweight and puberty processes. This cross-sectional study was aimed to clarify these associations in the Iranian girl population.
Methods: A total of 1300 girls aged 11-15 years were randomly selected from Mashhad, in the northeast of Iran, using a multi-stage cluster sampling method. The demographic data were collected and weight, height, and waist circumference (WC) were measured, then Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist-to-Hip ratio were calculated. Overweight and obesity were defined based on WHO reference data. Central obesity was defined as ≥90th percentile of WC. Linear regression an unconditional binary logistic regression were performed to investigate the association between sociodemographic parameters and age at menarche in months, puberty categories, and menarche age groups (<12 vs. ≥12 years) respectively.
Results: The prevalence of overweight, obesity, and abdominal fat distribution were 11.5%, 10.3%, and 10.5% respectively. Menarche was experienced by 63% of subjects at the mean age of 12.24±0.98 years. Regression tests revealed that the odds of menarche occurrence at the age of 12 or more was significantly lower in girls with higher BMI (OR: 0.31, 95%CI: 0.22-0.43) than their leaner counterparts (P< 0.001).
Conclusion: The findings suggest that being overweight or obese is a possible predictor of experiencing menarche at a younger age.


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