Both paternal and maternal timing of puberty have a
strong influence on the timing of pubertal onset in
their children, and this was not sex-specific, mean
ages of pubertal onset support earlier findings of a
secular trend towards earlier pubertal maturation.
This was most pronounced for breast development in
girls, for which hereditability appears to have less
impact than for menarche, it suggests that other
(environmental) factors are responsible for the
rapid decline in age at pubertal onset in girls.
Researchers studied the timing of puberty for 672
girls and 846 boys relative to their parents and
found kids who developed pubic hair and other
hallmarks of adulthood at an unusually young age
tended to have mothers and fathers who also matured
Children who go through early puberty may be shorter
than average adults because after their early growth
spurt their bones may stop growing at a younger age,
and they are also at increased risk of obesity as
During adolescence, they may face an increased risk
of social and emotional problems and earlier sexual
When fathers matured early, boys tended to develop
pubic hair almost one year ahead and also grew
enlarged testes about 9.5 months sooner than sons of
fathers who went through puberty late.
Girls with fathers that matured early started
menstruating about 10.5 months sooner and developed
pubic hair around 7 months before girls whose
fathers developed late. Early breast development in
girls, however, didnít appear to be tied to early
puberty in their fathers.
Daughters of women who matured early typically
started menstruating about 10 months sooner than
girls with late-blooming mothers and sons went
through genital maturation about 6.5 months before
boys with mothers who developed late.
Interestingly, the associations between parental
puberty and breast development in girls were
generally weaker than associations with menarche and
with pubertal milestones in boys.
One shortcoming of the study is that researchers
relied on parents to accurately recall and report on
when they went through puberty many years earlier.
They also got more data from mothers than fathers,
which may have affected the relative influence of
each parent in the results.
For more information
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Pubertal onset in boys and girls is influenced by
pubertal timing of both parents