New Delhi: The age at which girls attain puberty has come down from 10 to 8 years in the national capital and doctors have blamed junk food consumption and sedentary lifestyle for this unusual trend.
Besides, doctors in the city have also seen a steep rise in cases of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) -- a condition in which there is an imbalance of a woman`s female sex hormones -- among young girls.
Gynaecologists see rise in cases of precocious puberty and PCOS as a worrying trend to be addressed immediately. PCOS can cause infertility and endocrine cancer if not checked.
"I have seen a very unusual trend as puberty age in girls in Delhi has lowered from 10 to 8 years and it is a major problem. I get lots of cases of precocious puberty and PCOS," Sonia Naik, consultant Obstetrics and gynaecology in Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, said.
Most of the cases are related to unhealthy eating, increase in consumption of junk food among children and minimal physical activity, she said.
"One of the main reasons for these problems is the kind of food they (girls) are exposed to. They generally eat high fat food and follow a sedentary lifestyle. We need to sensitize children and parents about the food they consume," she added.
According to doctors, early maturity among girls and boys were earlier reported in the US and many studies had linked them to obesity.
"There has been a rise in obesity in students in most schools in the capital and this needs to be checked as early as possible. We need to involve parents and teachers to develop healthy eating habits in children," said Seema Gulati of Diabetes Foundation India.
A Delhi court had ordered the central government to ban junk food and cola drinks in schools as it affects the health of students.