Drinking a lot of milk causes early puberty?

Precocious puberty is a condition in which a child develops secondary sexual characteristics marking sexual maturity earlier than normal, before the age of 8 in girls (menstruation before 9.5-10 years of age) and before the age of 9 years. in boys.

Dr. Huynh Thi Vu Quynh, Head of the Department of Nephrology and Endocrinology, Children’s Hospital 2, Ho Chi Minh City, said that every day, this place examines 20-30 children with precocious puberty. Among them, about 6 children were hospitalized for diagnosis and interventional treatment.

“The question parents often ask is, is it because their children drink too much milk that they have early puberty? This is a misconception!”, Doctor Vu Quynh confirmed.

Drinking a lot of milk causes early puberty?  - first

Milk is not the cause of early puberty in children.

According to statistics, up to 80% of children with central precocious puberty (true precocious puberty) are idiopathic. In addition, it may be due to CNS tumours, pituitary gland tumors, CNS infections, genetic factors, or overexposure to sex hormones.

Doctors say that milk may be indirectly related to early puberty if the child is obese.

Dr. BS Nguyen Thi Thu Hau, Head of the Department of Nutrition, Children’s Hospital 2 explained, fat cells can secrete some chemicals with hormone-like properties (leptin hormones). Obese children have too much fatty tissue, so the risk of early puberty is also higher than other children.

But why does milk cause obesity, overweight? Dr. Hau analyzed, in children under 1 year old, milk is the main food, a lot of nutrition. Over 1 year old, children still need to maintain 400-500ml of milk or milk products per day, to ensure enough calcium to help children develop maximum height.

When a child is 2 years old, the brain structure reaches 80% of that of an adult, the need for fat is not as much as before. However, parents still give their children whole milk and high-sugar milk in large quantities. Since then, children easily become overweight and obese.

“The fault is not in the milk, but how we give it to the baby.” Dr. Hau concludes.

Many studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese than formula-fed babies. The reason is that in breast milk, the amount of protein is low and all are precious proteins. In cow’s milk, the amount of protein is too high, causing children to gain weight quickly and “sensitive” to fat accumulation later.

“Even babies born prematurely, forced to be fed high-protein milk, have the downside of being at higher risk of obesity.” Post-analysis doctor.

Concerned about milk and cattle meat containing growth hormone that can cause early puberty, Dr. Huynh Thi Vu Quynh emphasized, this is a misconception. Puberty hormone is a sex hormone, essentially a steroid hormone. Meanwhile, the nature of growth hormone is protein (peptide), when entering the stomach, it will be cut into amino acids.

Therefore, there is no association between growth hormone and early puberty.

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Over 80% of girls with precocious puberty have no identifiable cause.

Doctors note that parents should not cut milk when their children are obese or have early puberty because children still need calcium supplements to grow taller. Instead of full-fat milk, whole milk, obese children should drink skim milk and low sugar.

Parents need to cut off empty energy from junk food, candy, soft drinks, fast food, fried food, pork skin, chicken skin… to control weight for children.

Currently, the rate of children with early puberty in Vietnam and the world is increasing, puberty is also earlier. In particular, among children with precocious puberty coming to Children’s Hospital 2, about 95% are girls.

However, not all children need treatment. The doctor will evaluate the age of onset, the progression of bone age, psychological problems … on a case-by-case basis. From there, consider appointing intervention or not.

If treatment is needed, it usually lasts until the child is 11-12 years old. After about 9-16 months of stopping the intervention, girls will have their periods again. At that time, the signs of puberty were consistent with the developmental age of the child and his peers.

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