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Girls with low vitamin D test scores may be more likely to begin menstruating at a young age, which is a risk factor for a number of health problems throughout a woman's life, according to a new study out of the University of Michigan.
Researchers said that individuals who have their first cycle at a young age are more likely to experience psychological problems as teens and cardiovascular complications in adulthood. The average age of girls' first menstruation has been falling in the U.S. for years, but no one has been entirely sure why. At the same time, more people have been testing positive for vitamin D deficiency.
For the study, researchers followed a group of 5- to 12-year-old girls for a period of 30 months. During the study, the ones that had the lowest levels of vitamin D were most likely to experience their first period.
Researchers said their findings add valuable knowledge to an area of women's health that is relatively poorly understood.
"We know relatively little about what triggers puberty from an environmental perspective," said Eduardo Villamor said. "If we learn what is causing the decline in age of first menstruation, we may be able to develop interventions."
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