Does precocious puberty have a racial predilection?

Updated: Nov 30, 2020
  • Author: Paul B Kaplowitz, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
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Answer

The study by Herman-Giddens et al, as well as data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III report and a study by Biro et al, conclusively showed that Black females in the United States have onset of breast development and pubic hair about 1 year earlier than White girls. Thus, using the same age definition of precocious puberty for White and Black females yields a higher incidence in Black girls. [5, 16, 17]  No current evidence shows that Black males mature earlier than White ones; thus, the incidence of precocious puberty among boys is similar in both races. The NHANES III study found that Mexican-American girls start breast development at a similar age as White girls and that pubic hair appears slightly later, [16] while the study by Biro et al indicates that Hispanic girls fall between Black and White females in the age of onset of breast development.


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