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Milk And Precocious Puberty Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

It may seem that children are developing sooner than usual, and that is because they are. Children today are entering puberty earlier than ever. It is unclear why this is happening, although there are many hypotheses. One theory is that foods and other components, such as hormones, are causing precocious puberty. Precocious puberty is a medical term describing puberty occurring at an early age. Another possible answer may be the dramatic increase in childhood obesity. The consumption of milk has traditionally been blamed for premature growth in adolescents. However, there are no facts that directly link milk to precocious puberty. Previous studies lacked the consistency needed for accurate ...view middle of the document...

Every day there is more information on chemicals in our environment. Chemicals are in personal care products, household products, cleaners, and foods and many disrupt the endocrine system. Phthalates, industrial plasticizers common in many products, mimic estrogen. Evidence is now suggesting that these and other endocrine disrupting chemicals can interfere with sexual development. The endocrine system is a system of glands that produce endocrine secretions that help control bodily metabolic activity. More research is needed to better understand how these chemicals affect timing of puberty (Ridley, Kim).
Children who consume more milk tend to have lower, rather than higher, body weights. If obesity is linked to early puberty, it is unlikely that milk plays a role. Milk has always contained natural bovine growth hormones (BST) in very small amounts. Some dairy producers administer the synthetic version of this hormone (rBST) to increase milk production in their cows. The Federal Drug Administration has concluded that milk produced by treated and untreated cows is exactly the same. Ninety percent of these hormones are destroyed during the pasteurization process. The remaining trace amounts are broken down into inactive fragments. Both BST and rBST are “cow specific”’ and have no effect on the human body. Thus, hormones in milk are not a valid explanation for early puberty ("Myth: Drinking Milk Causes Early Puberty”).
In the 1990s when research began to suggest that children were starting puberty earlier, some suspected that growth hormones in cow's milk were to blame. But the hormone given to cows, recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH is degraded during digestion, and so would not be expected to have a biological effect. Parents should not be withholding milk or milk products from for the fear of it causing early puberty, the calcium in milk is essential to the growth of adolescents. Previous studies on the topic conducted have found mixed results, no studies have presented indisputable evidence on the matter.

According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Hong Kong, there was no known link between the amounts of cow's milk children in Hong Kong drank between ages six months and five years, and the age at which they began puberty. Whether or not the children were breastfed also did not affect the age puberty began. These findings suggest that breast-feeding or cow's milk consumption does not play a major role in puberty timing among children in non-Western countries. The new study addresses potential misconceptions held by the public (Kwok, Sun K., Gabriel M. Leung, Tai H. Lam, and Catherine M. Schooling).
Unlike earlier studies, the new...

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