2011 January 22 Saturday
Early Sexual Maturity: Celebrate Or Stop It?

As part of a rant about a double standard with regard to child pornography where movies and TV shows produced by large corporations can portray very sexualized teenagers Ferdinand Bardamu points out children are entering into puberty about 4-5 years sooner than they used to be. Where he gets it wrong is by arguing those kids are ready to handle their sexuality at the age of 12 or 13.

Mocking tone aside, am I the only one whos noticed that as children sexually mature at younger and younger ages, we become more and more obsessed with protecting them from actual sex? For example, as late as 1850, the average age of menarche among European girls was 17 now its 12-13. (Yes, that means that by modern standards, all of your ancestors were pedophiles. Pious Puritans, feminist or conservative, feel free to commit mass suicide to wash away the shame.) Children are clearly capable of taking on adult responsibilities at younger ages, yet our society is set up to prolong their adolescence as long as possible.

My take: The early puberty is a recent development that teens are not ready to handle. Sexual development should be delayed in order to give kids time to grow up and to avoid the cost for the rest of us that come from teen pregnancies.

The high calorie and high carbohydrate modern diet (irresponsibly blessed by the USDA food pyramid that supports big agricultural interests) is a likely cause of earlier menarche. Sugar and insulin probably accelerate puberty just as they probably cause myopia (more here). The brains of these kids do not go thru accelerated maturity as a result of the sugar and insulin that causes the early puberty. So arguing that they are ready to handle all the consequences is just plain wrong. They lack the education and job skills needed to support babies. They lack the emotional and intellectual maturity required for wise child raising.

A drug for treating insulin resistance delays puberty.

In young girls at risk of early puberty and insulin resistance, the diabetes drug metformin delayed the onset of menstruation and decreased the development of insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. The results were presented Monday, June 16, at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

"The findings indicate that we can slow down puberty," said the study's senior author, Lourdes Ibanez, MD, PhD, of the University of Barcelona in Spain. "This is important because when puberty is faster in girls, the appearance of menses occurs earlier, and this sequence of events may ultimately result in a shorter adult height."

Get kids off the diets that cause early puberty and we will cut teen pregnancy, single motherhood, the ranks of welfare recipients, and high school drop-out rates. For how to do it see Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 January 22 01:36 PM  Human Natue Sexuality

kurt9 said at January 22, 2011 2:41 PM:

Myopia is one example of the criminality of modern medicine. When I first got glasses at age 12, I asked the eye doctor if near-sightedness was caused by reading and doing too much other close up stuff as a kid. He told me this was not true and that myopia was "genetic". Years later when I lived in SoCal (as an adult), I had my eyes checked to get new contact lenses. This guy told me that reading and other close up work as a child did indeed cause myopia and that this was known since the 1950's based on research where two successive generations of Eskimo kids were followed through childhood. In other words, this work had been done long before I ever got glasses as a 12 year old, and the doctor tells me its "genetic".

I had the same experience with asthma and allergies, which turned out to be caused exclusively by Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines. The Mercury autism link is real, despite whatever carefully crafted lies the medical community says to the contrary.

The medical establishment (MD's, FDA) routinely lies through the teeth about many things.

Sycamore said at January 22, 2011 4:59 PM:

> caused exclusively by Thimerosal

How can you know?

Eggwhite said at January 22, 2011 8:27 PM:

Yeah I would take all the anti-vaccine stuff with a grain of salt.

Default User said at January 23, 2011 7:04 AM:

Regarding vaccines and autism, here is one explanation that sounds plausible. It is a lecture by Dr. Russell Blaylock However, like most panics, I would take the anti-vaccine idea with a grain of salt.
[in 14 parts for a total of about 1 hour 10 minutes.]

Randall Parker said at January 23, 2011 9:28 AM:


No, myopia is not genetic (at least not by itself). Studies comparing cultures that got Western food before reading and reading before Western food show the problem tracks with diet, not reading.

I've given you links. Click on them.

blue said at January 23, 2011 1:05 PM:


Randall Parker: "My take: The early puberty is a recent development that teens are ready to handle."

Randall Parker said at January 23, 2011 1:11 PM:


Thanks. It is pretty dumb of me to contradict my main point with a typo.

bbartlog said at January 24, 2011 6:07 AM:

Studies comparing cultures that got Western food before reading and reading before Western food

But this doesn't rule out a genetic component. It's quite easy to imagine a population where no one has myopia, but (say) half of them have some genetic variant that would cause them to develop it given the right environment (whether it be reading or Western diet or both). And in fact myopia has substantial heritability in the context of a western environment.
In cases like this it really makes sense to look at which factor you are interested in modifying. For most people who might be interested in improving their own health, environment is a much more fruitful angle. But it is not a good idea to adopt a mental model where things like this are sorted into 'environmental' and 'genetic' categories (in fact it's not even wise to try to assign particular degrees of influence to both sides).

no i don't said at January 29, 2011 3:28 PM:

I suppose all that early sexual maturity is also the fault of all those Immigrants, Moslems, Iraquis, Chinese, Iranians, Russians, Arabs, Indians, Koreans and Beanners, right Randall?

Hmmm, I wonder what happened to all that hate talk so amusing and typical in this forum. Come on, let's bring back the issues, there's a world out there.

Pretty please?

Likewise said at January 31, 2011 1:50 PM:

No I don't, what's your problem? You're on the wrong topic man!!!

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