The Rise in Precocious Puberty
Many theories exist surrounding the increases in early puberty in young girls and boys, but while the causes are unclear, the rise in numbers is a certainty. Precocious puberty, defined as the onset of signs of puberty before ages 7 or 8 in girls and age 9 in boys, can be physically and emotionally difficult.
Puberty occurs during adolescence when children develop physically and emotionally into young men and women. Usually, this begins at approximately age 10 for girls and age 12 for boys.
A Disturbing Trend
Anecdotal evidence from parents and others in the medical community provides support for the increase in early puberty rates. Elise G. Hewitt, DC, CST, DICCP, and president of ACA’s Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics, says she sees signs of puberty among patients in her pediatric practice earlier than ever before. And research backs up this noticeable trend.
A 2010 study1 shows that girls had high rates of breast stage 2 development at ages 7 and 8 on the Tanner Scale. For example, at age 7, 23.4 percent of black non-Hispanic girls, 14.9 percent of Hispanic, and 10.4 percent of Caucasian girls had reached stage 2 on the Tanner Scale. At age 8, the rates had almost doubled. These numbers indicate increases from earlier studies. (The Tanner scale or Tanner stages is a scale of physical development. It is based on a scale of 5 progressive stages in which stage 1 is prepubertal, stage 2 is onset, and stage 5 is adult.)
The top theory among experts is that girls who have a high-fat diet and are not active or are obese are more likely to mature early. That could be the primary driver because estrogen, which triggers puberty, is stored in fat tissue. It helps explain why early puberty is more common in females than in males.
Another suspect in early puberty is growth hormone (GH) in the food supply. There are more chemical compounds in what we are eating and they are wreaking havoc with children’s hormonal systems.
Hormones allow for greater yields of lean muscle meat in farm animals and higher milk production, thereby feeding more people at less cost. GH is a protein hormone produced in the pituitary gland of animals, including humans, and is essential for normal growth, development, and health.
Recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH (sometimes referred to as rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin), is used to increase milk output. It is a genetically engineered growth hormone that is banned from use in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and all EU countries. However, in 1993, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved rBGH for sale in the United States.
A June 2010 study, published in Public Health Nutrition3 in the United Kingdom, found high-meat diets in childhood are linked with early puberty for girls. The research, led by Imogen Rogers at the University of Brighton, compared the diets of 3,000 12-year-old girls at ages 3, 7, and 12.
The study concluded it was best that young children avoid consuming large quantities of meat.
More doctors of chiropractic should educate people on how chemicals affect their bodies. Patients need to know why it is important to make healthful food choices. Education does matter.
Dr. Hewitt notes the importance of the overall chiropractic wellness paradigm for children and adults. “The cleaner we can keep our diets and our lifestyles, the better,” she says. “This is where it is important for doctors of chiropractic to encourage their patients to live an active lifestyle. Exercise and activity are so important, not only for the health of the cardiovascular system but also as a way to help the body clean out toxins.”
- Biro FM, et al. Pubertal assessment method and baseline characteristics in a mixed longitudinal study of girls. Pediatrics. 2010 Sep;126(3):e583-90.
- Report on the Food and Drug Administration’s Review of the Safety of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin, April 23, 2009 (This report was updated on April 23, 2009 to clarify quantities of growth hormone found in milk and those used in the 1989 rat study. www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm130321.htm.)
- Rogers I, Northstone K, Dunger D, Cooper A, Ness A and Emmett P. Diet throughout childhood and age at menarche in a contemporary cohort of British girls. Pub Health Nutri. June 8, 2010; 13(12): 2052-2063.
- NTP Soy Brief on Infant Formula, NTP Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sept. 16, 2010. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/ohat/genistein-soy/SoyFormulaUpdt/FinalNTPBriefSoyFormula_9_20_2010.pdf
It is believed that environmental exposure to chemicals, such as pesticides and endocrine-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA), found in plastics, also may play a role in early puberty. BPA is used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. These plastics are used in some food and drink containers; the resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes.
These concerns are dismissed by some. According to bisphenol-A. org, scientific evidence supports the safety of BPA and provides strong assurance there is no basis for health concerns from exposure to low doses of BPA.
But more studies need to be done. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a 2008 report1 found “minimal” concern for effects on the mammary gland and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to BPA. The report did conclude, however, that current human exposure to BPA is of “some concern” for effects on development of the prostate gland and brain and for behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children.
- Monograph on the Potential Human Reproductive and Developmental Effects of Bisphenol A, The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NIH Publication No. 08-5994, Sept. 2008.
Travel Aches and Strains Can Be a Pain In Your Back
Traveling can be rough on the body. Whether you are traveling alone on business or on your way to a sunny resort with your family, long hours in a car or an airplane can leave you stressed, tired, stiff and sore.
“Prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your body,” says Dr. Scott Bautch, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Council on Occupational Health. “Even if you travel in the most comfortable car or opt to fly first class, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can result in restricted blood flow. One of the biggest insults to your system from prolonged sitting is the buildup of pressure in the blood vessels in your lower legs. Contracting and relaxing the muscles helps the blood flow properly.”
Dr. Bautch and the ACA suggest the following tips and advice to fight the pains and strains of travel before they occur.
Warm Up, Cool Down
Treat travel as an athletic event. Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination. Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.
In the Car:
- Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips. Place four fingers behind the back of your thigh closest to your knee. If you cannot easily slide your fingers in and out of that space, you need to re-adjust your seat.
- Consider a back support. Using a support behind your back may reduce the risk of low-back strain, pain or injury. The widest part of the support should be between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.
- Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, making sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
- To minimize arm and hand tension while driving, hold the steering wheel at approximately 3 o’clock and 7 o’clock, periodically switching to 10 o’clock and 5 o’clock.
- Do not grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
- While always being careful to keep your eyes on the road, vary your focal point while driving to reduce the risk of eye fatigue and tension headaches.
- Take rest breaks. Never underestimate the potential consequences of fatigue to yourself, your passengers and other drivers.
In an Airplane:
- Stand up straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine. Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit in your seat. Tuck a pillow behind your back and just above the beltline and lay another pillow across the gap between your neck and the headrest. If the seat is hollowed from wear, use folded blankets to raise your buttocks a little.
- Check all bags heavier than 5-10 percent of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount of weight should be avoided to reduce the risk of pain in the lower back or neck. While lifting your bags, stand right in front of the overhead compartment so the spine is not rotated. Do not lift your bags over your head, or turn or twist your head and neck in the process.
- When stowing belongings under the seat, do not force the object with an awkward motion using your legs, feet or arms. This may cause muscle strain or spasms in the upper thighs and lower back muscles. Instead, sit in your seat first, and using your hands and feet, gently guide your bags under the seat directly in front of you.
- While seated, vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps. Massage legs and calves. Bring your legs in, and move your knees up and down. Prop your legs up on a book or a bag under your seat.
- Do not sit directly under the air controls. The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.
Safe Travel For Children:
- Always use a car seat in a car when traveling with children below the age of 4 and weighing less than 40 pounds.
- Ask the airline for their policy on child car seat safety. Car seats for infants and toddlers provide added resistance to turbulent skies, and are safer than the lap of a parent in the event of an unfortunate accident.
- Make sure the car seat is appropriate for the age and size of the child. A newborn infant requires a different seat than a 3-year-old toddler.
- Car seats for infants should always face the rear. In this position, the forces and impact of a crash will be spread more evenly along the back and shoulders, providing more protection for the neck.
- Car seats should always be placed in the back seat of the car-ideally in the center. This is especially important in cars equipped with air bags. If an air bag becomes deployed, the force could seriously injure or kill a child or infant placed in the front seat.
- Make sure the car seat is properly secured to the seat of the vehicle and is placed at a 45-degree angle to support the head of the infant or child.
Chiropractic Care Can Help…
“If you follow these simple tips, you can enjoy pain-free, safe travel,” says Dr. Bautch. “If you do experience pain and stress on your back, doctors of chiropractic are trained and licensed to diagnose and treat problems of the spine and nervous system.”
- 1 cup cooked drained white beans
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 pound ground organic, grass-fed lamb
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh lemon balm
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- Ground pepper
- In food processor, blend beans and oats until combined.
- Place in a bowl & add lamb, garlic, onion, lemon balm, oregano, cumin, lemon zest, salt, pepper, & cayenne.
- Mix well and shape the mixture into 4 patties, about 3/4-inch thick.
- Set barbecue at medium-high heat & grill patties to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of each burger & serve on lettuce or burger rolls.
While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation – Maya Angelou
MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A CHILD’S LIFE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
DONATE A NEW UNWRAPPED GIFT &
RECEIVE A FREE BIOFREEZE ROLL-ON
The toys will be delivered to local CCA.
HOLIDAY DONATION DRIVE-2013
This year, Ash Chiropractic has set a goal of collecting 100 items for donations to local families in our community.
How can you help?
Bring non-perishable food items such as boxed or canned goods, clothing articles, shoes, sporting supplies, toys, books for all ages, and other appropriate items. Final day to contribute will be Friday, December 20th, 2013.
Every donation is appreciated & will be delivered to Jonathan’s Place.
“Gentleness, self-sacrifice & generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Final day to contribute will be Friday, December 20th
Massage packages are available starting at $45
Call our office for purchase & schedule an appointment. Good through December 31st, 2014.
Have a Happy & Safe Holiday Season.
Ring in the New Year of 2014 with a Healthy Resolution for You and Your Loved Ones!
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to take care of your friends & families!