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Association of age at menarche with body mass index and waist–hip ratio

Prarthana Kaleramma Gopalakrishna, Suja Purushothaman, Santhi Reghunath, Bishara Pushkar, Ksheera Ishiah King.


Background: Menarche is the first onset of menstruation. Current trend shows decrease in age of menarche. There is strong evidence that the increasing rate of obesity can be attributed to decreasing menarche age.

Objective: To analyze the relation between age at menarche and anthropometric parameters such as body mass index (BMI) and waist–hip ratio.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 170 adolescent girls aged between 18 and 25 years. The participants were given a questionnaire that included data on birth date, age of menarche, parent’s education, ethnic background, and food habits. Height and weight were measured, and BMI and waist–hip ratio was calculated. The participants were divided into three different categories based on BMI values. Statistical analysis was carried out in SPSS software, version 16.0. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVA. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used for correlation studies.

Result: Majority of the participants showed a normal BMI, and no significant correlation could be drawn between age at menarche and BMI (p > 0.05). There was no significant relation between waist–hip ratio and menarche too.

Conclusion: Relation between BMI and age at menarche was not significant in this study. The abovementioned findings suggest that there are other factors also that contribute to early puberty. Data were also required for amount of energy intake at the time of puberty, especially those foods that contain hormones such as estrogen and antiestrogens. Other important factors such as ethnic and cultural background, socioeconomic status, supportive family, and lifestyle factors also play a very important role in determining the age of menarche.

Key words: Menarche, BMI, waist–hip ratio

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