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Age of menarche in contemporary British teenagers: survey of girls born between 1982 and 1986

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 05 May 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1095
  1. P H Whincup (, professor of cardiovascular epidemiologya,
  2. J A Gilg, research statisticiana,
  3. K Odoki, clinical research fellowa,
  4. S J C Taylor, senior clinical lecturerb,
  5. D G Cook, professor of epidemiologya
  1. a Department of Public Health Sciences, St George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 0RE
  2. b Department of General Practice and Primary Care, Medical Sciences, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London E1 4NS
  1. Correspondence to: P H Whincup

    The possibility that puberty is occurring earlier in Britain than previously has caused great interest.1 Despite the importance of menarcheal age as an indicator of puberty,2 there is little information on menarcheal age in contemporary teenagers to compare with data on girls born in the 1950s and 1960s. We report on the distribution of menarcheal age in a survey of British girls born between 1982 and 1986.

    Participants, methods, and results

    In 1998-9 we studied the cardiovascular health of secondary school children aged 12-16 in schools in 10 British towns: five in southern England (Esher, Leatherhead, Chelmsford, Bath, Tunbridge Wells), three in north west England (Wigan, Burnley, Rochdale), and two in south Wales (Port Talbot, Rhondda). We approached those secondary schools corresponding to a stratified random sample of primary schools in our earlier study3; 62 of …

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