Puberty in modernizing Kazakhstan: a comparison of rural and urban children.
The present study is part of a research project on growth models of children in an area of central-southern Italy. It analyzes the phases of pubertal breast development (BD) in 397 girls, pubic hair development (PHD) in 399 girls, and menarche in 583 girls from 6-14 years old. The status quo method was used to evaluate the age at menarche. Probit analysis was used to analyze the data for all three variables. The onset of BD and PHD (Tanner stage 2) occurs at age 7 in 6.1% of girls. Passage to stage 3 of one or both secondary sexual characteristics occurs at age 10 in 8.5% of girls. Comparison with data from the United States shows higher percentages of American white girls in stage 2 (or greater) of both characteristics at any age. The mean (median) age of onset (Tanner stage 2) of BD or PHD or both of them is 9.96 years. The passage to stage 3 occurs at age 12.36 for BD (95% confidence interval: 1.36 years) and at age 12.10 for PHD (95% confidence interval: 0.51 years). The mean age at menarche is 12.55 years, in general agreement with other values found in Italy. Sexual maturation at any considered stage for both pubertal characteristics is generally in line with literature data concerning other Mediterranean and industrialized countries or countries in which the demographic transition is in an advanced phase. It does not show a significant earlier onset. The evidence emerging from the general project suggests that the secular trend is still in progress in this region of Italy.