Secular change in age at menarche in rural Oaxaca, southern Mexico: 1968–2000
Source: Annals of Human Biology, Volume 31, Number 6, November-December 2004 , pp. 634-646(13)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:Objective: To evaluate secular change in the age at menarche between 1978 and 2000 in residents of a rural Zapotec-speaking community in Oaxaca, southern Mexico, using status quo and retrospective methods.Materials and methods: Status quo menarcheal status of girls 9–18 years of age in 1978 (n?=?101) and 2000 (n?=?238) and retrospective ages at menarche of adult women 19+ years of age in 1978 (n?=?228) and 2000 (n?=?246) were obtained via interview. Probit analysis was used to estimate median ages at menarche and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the status quo data. Analysis of variance and linear regression was used to compare the retrospective data across surveys.Results: The median ages at menarche of adolescents are 14.8?±?1.2 years (0.24 year, 95% CI 14.2–15.4 years) in 1978 and 13.0?±?1.0 years (0.10 year, 95% CI 12.7–13.3 years) in 2000. Age at menarche has declined by 1.8 years over about 23 years, 0.78 year/decade (95% CI?=?0.65–0.91 year/decade). Recalled ages at menarche do not differ by age group in the 1978 survey, but differ significantly by age group in the 2000 survey (p<0.001). Within the 2000 survey, the two youngest age groups (<29, 30–39 years) do not differ, but attain menarche earlier than women in the four older age groups (p<0.05), who do not differ from each other in age at menarche. The estimated rates of secular decline in age at menarche in adult women vary between 0.38 and 0.42 years/decade (0.26–0.56 year/decade).Conclusions: There is a major secular decline in the age at menarche of adolescent girls and young adult women between 1978 and 2000. The estimated rate of decline in adult women is about one-half of that in adolescent girls. The secular decline in age at menarche is consistent with corresponding secular gains height, sitting height and estimated leg length of children and adolescents in the community; corresponding secular gains are smaller in young adults 19–29 years.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Tarleton State University Stephenville TX and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan USA 2: Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia Mexico D.F. 3: Defence Medical and Environmental Research Institute DSO National Laboratories Singapore 4: Tarleton State University Stephenville Texas USA
Publication date: November 1, 2004