Research Study Abstract

Advanced Pubertal Status at Age 11 and Lower Physical Activity in Adolescent Girls

  • Published on 11/2007

Objective To examine the relationship between pubertal timing and physical activity.

Study Design A longitudinal sample of 143 adolescent girls was assessed at ages 11 and 13 years. Girls’ pubertal development was assessed at age 11 with blood estradiol levels, Tanner breast staging criteria, and parental report of pubertal development. Girls were classified as early maturers (n = 41) or later maturers (n = 102) on the basis of their scores on the 3 pubertal development measures. Dependent variables measured at age 13 were average minutes/day of moderate to vigorous and vigorous physical activity as measured by the ActiGraph accelerometer.

Results Early-maturing girls had significantly lower self-reported physical activity and accumulated fewer minutes of moderate to vigorous and vigorous physical activity and accelerometer counts per day at age 13 than later maturing girls. These effects were independent of differences in percentage body fat and self-reported physical activity at age 11.

Conclusion Girls experiencing early pubertal maturation at age 11 reported lower subsequent physical activity at age 13 than their later maturing peers. Pubertal maturation, in particular early maturation relative to peers, may lead to declines in physical activity among adolescent girls.


Journal of Pediatrics