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Sugary Drink Consumption Tied to Earlier Menarche

Early menstruation a risk factor for depression and breast cancer

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Girls who consume a lot of sugary drinks may begin menstruating earlier than girls who don’t, according to a study published online Jan. 27 in Human Reproduction.

Among 5,583 girls aged 9 to 14 who were followed between 1996 and 2001, the researchers found that those who drank more than 1.5 servings of sugary drinks a day had their first period 2.7 months earlier than those who drank two or fewer of these drinks a week. This finding was independent of the girls’ body mass index, how much food they ate, or whether they exercised or not, the researchers noted.

“Starting periods early is a risk factor for depression during adolescence and breast cancer during adulthood. Thus, our findings have implications beyond just starting menstruation early,” study first author Jenny Carwile, Sc.D., a postdoctoral associate at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, told HealthDay. The researchers found that the average age at the first period among girls who consumed the most sugary drinks was 12.8 years, compared with 13 years for those drinking the least.

Lack of a cause-and-effect finding was among several concerns with the study cited by the American Beverage Association. “Neither this study nor the body of science shows that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption causes early onset of menarche. What the body of science supports is that adolescent girls are reaching puberty earlier than prior generations; however, there is no scientific consensus concerning the cause of this trend,” the association said in a statement.

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