Pubertal Timing and Cardiometabolic Markers at Age 16 Years

Nina E Berentzen, Alet H Wijga, Lenie van Rossem, Dirkje S. Postma, Ulrike Gehring, Henriëtte A Smit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between pubertal timing and cardiometabolic markers among adolescents.

STUDY DESIGN: We used data from Dutch adolescents participating in a birth cohort study. The study population for the current study consisted of 799 adolescents of whom data were available for at least 1 of the exposure variables (pubertal timing and/or age at menarche) and any of the cardiometabolic markers (waist circumference, cholesterol, blood pressure [BP], glycated hemoglobin) measured at age 16 years. Adolescents self-reported pubertal development at ages 11, 14, and 16 years. We categorized participants with early (84 girls, 88 boys), intermediate (240 girls, 211 boys), or late pubertal timing (89 girls, 85 boys). We estimated differences in cardiometabolic markers using linear regression analysis.

RESULTS: Girls with early pubertal timing had 1.54 cm larger waist circumference (95% CI .05; 3.03) and 3.98 mm Hg higher systolic BP (95% CI 1.69; 6.27) at age 16 years than girls with intermediate pubertal timing. The association with systolic BP remained after adjusting for childhood body mass index (BMI) (age 8 years) but attenuated after adjusting for BMI in adolescence (age 16 years). Boys with early pubertal timing had 0.79 mmol/mol lower glycated hemoglobin (95%CI -1.38; -0.20) than boys with intermediate pubertal timing.

CONCLUSIONS: Girls with early pubertal timing had unfavorable BP levels at age 16 years, independent of BMI in childhood. Girls and boys with late pubertal timing had a tendency for lower waist circumference, but no differences in other cardiometabolic markers. Late pubertal timing does not appear to be a risk factor for unfavorable cardiometabolic markers in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-164
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Child
  • Cholesterol
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hemoglobin A, Glycosylated
  • Humans
  • Journal Article
  • Male
  • Puberty
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference
  • blood pressure
  • cardiometabolic markers
  • menarche
  • pubertal timing
  • adolescence


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