Adult anthropometric measures and socio-demographic factors influencing age at menarche of university students in malaysia.
PURPOSE The aim of this study was to determine the age at menarche, the menarcheal features, and the association between menarcheal age and socioeconomic status in an urban area in Turkey. In addition, we tried to assess whether there is a relationship between age at menarche and body composition. METHODS We asked some questions about menarche of 1017 female adolescent students in the high schools of Manisa region. Height and weight were measured. The body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) was used as an index of relative weight. Adolescent girls were grouped into three socioeconomic status according to the educational and occupational levels of their parents. The age at menarche and the menarcheal pattern were evaluated according to the socioeconomic status. RESULTS The ages of girls involved in the study ranged between 14 and 18 years, with a mean of 15.7+/-1.1 years. Although the menarcheal age was found to be lower in girls with higher socioeconomic status, there was no significant difference between the three different socioeconomic status. In all of the three groups, menarche was more common in summer and fall than in spring and winter. Although the mother was an important source of knowledge in all groups, it was significantly more important in the group with high socioeconomic status. Adolescent girls with low socioeconomic status had fewer premenstrual complaints. However, there was no significant difference between the groups. We found an inverse correlation between menarcheal age and postmenarcheal weight and the BMI (r=-0.14, p=0.000). However, there was no correlation between menarcheal age and postmenarcheal height. CONCLUSION These results indicate that as the social status differences decrease, the difference observed in menarcheal age and pattern disappears in urban areas of developing countries. Menarcheal age may be an indicator of socioeconomic development. It does not influence postmenarcheal height; however, as menarcheal age decreases, BMI increases.