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Sexual Maturation in Well-off Chandigarh Girls: A Longitudinal Study

A. K. Bhalla, Kusum Chopra and Harvinder Kaur

Published: 2004/09/01

Abstract

The pattern of sexual maturation in 109 adolescent girls representing well-off socio-economic strata of Chandigarh was studied as per Tanner's (1962) method, using a mixed-longitudinal research design. Every girl included in this study was examined for different indicators of sexual maturity on pre appointed dates and times at half-yearly age intervals, with a time tolerance of ± 15 days, in the Growth Clinic/Laboratory of the Department of Pediatrics, PGIMER, Chandigarh. The prospective method was used to determine age of attainment of menarche. An early sign of onset of puberty in girls was observed to be the development of breast stage B-II at a mean age of 10.33 ± 1.85 yr. This was followed by the onset of menarche (12.4± 2.56 yr), development of pubic hair (13.85 ± 0.98 yr) as well as axillary hair (14.0± 1.11 yr). The development of the breasts was complete by 16.0 ± 1.32 years of age. Chandigarh girls (5.8 yr) took longer to attain complete development of the breasts (i.e. stage B II to V) than their Turkish (3.3 yr), Dutch 3.7 yr), and affluent Indian (5.3 yr) counterparts, although onset of menarche occurred at a relatively younger age. The reason for this age-specific inter-population variation, recorded for different measures of sexual maturation in girls, appears to be related to racial/ethnic, environmental and social-economic strata differences.