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Osteoporosis risk tied to age of onset of puberty

Category: General Health

Leptin testing may predict a young girl's future risk of osteoporosis in addition to the age which she will enter puberty. A new study from Children's Hospital Los Angeles has found that the age of onset of puberty plays an important role in developing bone density, which can affect a girl throughout the rest of her life.

The researchers studied 78 girls from the time they entered puberty to the time they reached full sexual maturity. During this period, the investigators took bone mineral density tests to measure how the participants' bones were developing.

They found that girls who entered puberty later in their lives were significantly more likely to have low density bones by the time they reached sexual maturity. Given the fact that bones tend to lose about 1 percent of their total density each year after reaching this point, the researchers said that 10 to 20 percent deficiency is a major reason for concern.

"Puberty has a significant role in bone development," said Dr. Vincente Gilsanz, who headed the research. "We found that early puberty was associated with greater bone mass while later puberty resulted in less."

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