Biological race to adulthood, too fast to keep up?

An awkward topic for many can be a serious issue that must be discussed so that health concerns are put at rest.

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Berenice Lazaro, Staff writer

From running around in a playground to being sat down and told your body is changing can completely change the mind set of someone. A person could feel like their in a constant battle between their mind and their body to act a certain way. A  jumble of emotions arise as another kid has to face early puberty.

Puberty is a word that may cause discomfort and can make just about anyone cringe. Depending on the kid, puberty can either be a period filled with embarrassing situations, discomfort, and crippling self-confidence issues, or puberty can be a time when a kid finally feels comfort, confidence, and a sense of belonging. In the beginning of the 20th century, the average American girl had her period at 16 to 17 but  today the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows the age has dropped to 13.

 

Early puberty is also known as precocious puberty and today’s incoming generations are at  greater risk than past eras.  Mercola, a Natural Health website conducted a study on 252 different canned food brands 78 of which still use bisphenol-A (BPA) in their canned goods, even though it’s a known endocrine disruptor and can cause more than just early puberty. According to Fox News Health,  the Food and Drug Association allows hormones in food supplies, which include estradiol, testosterone, estriol, and progesterone, sex hormones that can accelerate the puberty age. Even everyday products such as soap contain these hormones. These daily  products contain many ingredients whose effects are not fully known to consumers, making it hard for individuals to know how the ingredients can affect their health.

 

However, according to a LiveScience health article the author Christopher Wanjek who holds a medical degree stated , doctors don’t think it’s necessarily what’s in food that’s affecting kids as much as it is how much food kids are consuming. In fact, many scientists link obesity with early puberty ages. Being active can delay the puberty age while being inactive and being overweight can accelerate puberty.Since puberty ages can be determined from genetics as well here are some tips to try to slow down the process. Eat balanced and healthy meals, and avoid fast or processed foods that may contain growth hormones. Get plenty of exercise. Remember puberty is normal and a natural part of growing up.

 

Yet with their bodies maturing so young people will face many different mental states. Jeffrey Baird a psychology teacher at Round Lake High School said “ Remember that everything psychological is rooted in biology so hormones cause us to react and our reactions lead to new thoughts and perceptions which can become overwhelming in themselves and leave us with anxiety, depression or even on the flip side leave us with an elevated sense of self-esteem”. The American Psychological Association says children who hit puberty a lot sooner are at risk for mental health problems. Girls especially are at risk for depression, substance abuse, and early sexual behavior.

 

Whether it be a rise of discomfort or a sense of confidence the emotional ride of early puberty is different for every individual who faces it. Puberty is a touchy subject to many, but the generations to come remain at risk to be a subject of precocious puberty. Those who face it may feel vulnerable, concerned about their health, or feel a strong pressure to mentally mature at a faster rate leaving them more likely to face mental disorders . In the end puberty can be overwhelming for most, even though living a healthy lifestyle can decrease the possibility there is no sure way to prevent precocious puberty.