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Girls are getting their first periods earlier. Here’s what parents should know

Researchers say multiple factors are likely impacting early puberty, including obesity, stress and endocrine-disrupting hormones which are widespread in the environment.SDI Productions/Getty Images/E+

Maria Godoy

Girls in the U.S. are getting their first menstrual period about 6 months earlier on average than they did in the 1950s and ‘60s. And more girls are beginning menstruation before the age of 9, which is considered a very early age. That’s according to a large new study published this week in the journal JAMA Network Open.

“It’s important to educate caregivers, parents and care providers on this trend so that we can also prepare our children,” says Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, the study’s co-author and an assistant professor of environmental, reproductive, and women’s health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The younger you are when you get your first period, it’s very confusing. There’s still a lot of stigma and silence around it,” Mahalingaiah says.

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