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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
E-pub ahead of print

Obesity is associated with earlier pubertal onset in boys

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CONTEXT: Pubertal timing in boys is associated with body mass index (BMI). Studies consistently report an inverse correlation of BMI and pubertal timing within the normal BMI range. However, observations in obese boys are conflicting with different studies reporting either early or delayed pubertal onset in obese boys.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to assess the association of male puberty timing with age-specific BMI (zBMI) in obese boys.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: 218 obese boys (zBMI>+2SD, median (range) age at baseline 10.8 (4.2-17.0) yrs were recruited as part of a prospective outpatient childhood obesity intervention program at Nordsjællands Hospital, Hillerød, Denmark between 2009 and 2017. Serving as controls, we included 660 healthy boys participating in the population-based COPENHAGEN Puberty Study (-2SD<zBMI≤+2SD, 2006-2014). Subanalyses were performed on overweight controls (+1SD<zBMI≤+2SD). Clinical assessment of pubertal development by Tanner staging including testis volume using Prader's orchidometer was performed by trained physicians. Timing of pubertal milestones was estimated by probit analyses.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Timing of testicular volume ≥ 4mL, genital stage ≥2 and pubarche.

RESULTS: Mean (95% CI) age of onset in obese boys was: testicular volume ≥4mL: 11.3 yrs (11.0-11.6), genital stage ≥2: 11.6 yrs (11.3-11.9), and pubarche: 11.9 yrs (11.5-12.3). Testicular volume ≥4mL occurred significantly earlier in obese boys compared to controls (-2SD<zBMI≤+2SD) (p=0.01). We did not observe significant differences for neither timing of pubarche nor genital stage ≥2 (p=0.06 and p=0.94, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that testicular enlargement in obese boys occurs significantly earlier compared to a population-based normal-weight reference cohort.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
ISSN0021-972X
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2019

ID: 58495077