Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.48(4) > 1081403

J Nutr Health. 2015 Aug;48(4):344-351. Korean.
Published online August 31, 2015.
© 2015 The Korean Nutrition Society
Determinants of age at menarche in Korean elementary school girls
Mi-Kyoung Kwon,1,** Eun Min Seo,2,** and Kyong Park1,2
1Department of Nutrition Management, Graduate School of Environment and Public Health Studies, Yeungnam University, Daegu 705-717, Korea.
2Department of Food and Nutrition, Yeungnam University, Gyeongbuk 712-749, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-53-810-2879, Email:

**These two authors contributed equally to this study.

Received February 17, 2015; Revised March 16, 2015; Accepted June 24, 2015.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



During the recent decades, the age at menarche continued to decline in Korea and worldwide. Prior studies have suggested that early menarche may increase the risk of various social, psychological, and physical health problems in young adolescent girls, but little is known about the determinants associated with early menarche. The purpose of this study is to evaluate independent determinants of early menarche among 5th~6th female graders in South Korea.


Our analysis was conducted in 95 menarcheal girls and 95 age-matched pre-menarcheal girls residing in Daegu, South Korea. Demographic and lifestyle characteristics were collected using survey questionnaires for children and parents. Dietary information was assessed by 2 day~24 hour food records and survey questionnaires, which were completed by both children and their parents. Anthropometric data were obtained from the student health check-ups at the school.


A multiple logistic regression analysis using a conditional likelihood method was performed for simultaneous evaluation of several risk factors. There were significant differences in that higher proportion of obesity (OR, odds ratio = 5.60, 95% CI, confidence interval = 1.34~23.42), shorter sleep duration (OR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.23~0.87), and younger mother's age at menarche (OR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.44~0.93) were observed in the menarcheal group compared to the premenarcheal group.


These findings indicate a possible association of sleep duration, mother's menarcheal age, and obesity with age at menarche. A well-planned, prospective cohort study is warranted to examine causal relationship.

Keywords: age at menarche; puberty; growth; obesity; determinants


Fig. 1
Mean frequency of consumption of protein-rich foods consumed by menarcheal group and pre-menarcheal group. The differences between menarcheal group and pre-menarcheal group were tested by paired t-test, and error bars represent 95% confidence intervals. **p < 0.01, significantly different from control. "Yogurt and cheese" included liquid, curd and beverage types of yogurts and processed cheese. "Meat" included beef, pork, chicken, and processed meat. "Fish" included all types of fish, shrimp, crab, and common squid.
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Table 1
General characteristics of girls, parents, and family according to menarcheal status (n = 190)
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Table 2
Nutrient intakes as percentage of KDRIs1) according to menarcheal status among elementary school girls (n = 190)
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Table 3
Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for having early menarche in relation to suspected risk factors among elementary school girls (n = 190)
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This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A1A3049866).

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