Saturday, June 03, 2006

Japan Menarché

There is this early article from 1981:

Secular trend of the age at menarche of Japanese girls with special regard to the secular acceleration of the age at peak height velocity.

Hoshi H, Kouchi M, Hum Biol. 1981 Dec;53(4):593-8.

PIP: An attempt is made to clarify the special characteristics of the secular trend of the menarchial age in Japan. The relationships with the precocious appearance of the age at peak high velocity, another exemplification of the maturity acceleration, is also reviewed. This research on menarche was conducted in 1979-1980 on 284 school girls born between 1961 and 1966. The girls were healthy, of middle socioeconomic class, and grew up and lived in Tokyo and its outskirts. A questionnaire was given to each subject who was requested to answer after referring to her diary, mother's or sister's records, or any other writing about her menarche. If none of these was available, they were asked to provide an event which occurred soon before or after the menarche. The arithmetic mean of the age at menarche was 12.40 years with a range of 9.63 to 15.44 years. In 1958 research was conducted on the menarche of 309 girls in the same school, and the mean menarchial age was reported to be 13.27 years with a range of 10.83 to 16.92 years. The rate of acceleration during these 21 years was 4.4 months/decade. Mean menarchial ages obtained in 157 studies ever reported in Japan were plotted against the year of publication. No definite tendency was apparent until a gradual change toward earlier menstruation began in about 1920. In the next 20 years the average decreased from 15.0 to 14.2 years of age. The rate of decrease during the 1920-1940 period was about 4 months/decade. Due to World War 2, a retardation of menarche began in 1941 and reached a peak of about 15.0 years of age in 1950-1952, after which the trend changed into one of rapid acceleration. It is believed that the age at peak height velocity (PHV) is highly correlated with menarche age. The correlation coefficient is reported to be 0.71 by Nicholson and Hanly (1953), 0.93 by Deming (1957) and 0.77 by the author's of this study based on the present subjects. Thus it can be reasonably assumed that the secular trend of menarche must be associated with a similar trend for PHV age.

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