Age at menarche and childhood body mass index as predictors of cardio-metabolic risk in young adulthood: A prospective cohort study

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Abstract

Objective This study aimed to examine the association between age at menarche and a range of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors at 17 and 20 years of age, and whether this was influenced by childhood body mass index (BMI). Methods Of the 1413 girls born in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, 846 had age at menarche recorded. Subsequently 557 underwent metabolic assessment at 17 years and 541 at 20 years. Associations between age at menarche and cardiovascular risk factors, and being in a high-risk metabolic cluster at 17 and 20 years, or having the metabolic syndrome at 20 years, were investigated by linear mixed effects and logistic regressions, respectively. Results Each year later of onset of menarche was associated with a 0.75 kg/m2 reduction in BMI (coefficient -0.75 [95%CI -1.06, -0.44]), and an approximate 30% reduction in the odds of being in the high-risk metabolic cluster at 17 years (OR = 0.73 [95%CI 0.57, 0.94]) and 20 years of age (OR = 0.68 [95%CI 0.52, 0.87]), and a 40% reduction in the odds of having the metabolic syndrome at 20 years (OR = 0.60 [95% CI 0.41, 0.88]). These data show earlier age at menarche was associated with increased BMI and odds of being in the high-risk metabolic cluster at 17 and 20 years, and increased odds of having the metabolic syndrome at 20 years. However, these associations were no longer statistically significant after adjustment for BMI at age 8 years. Current smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, socioeconomic status, or hormonal contraceptives use did not affect these associations. Conclusions Earlier age at menarche may be indicative of a higher risk profile for CVD in young adulthood. Our findings suggest that targeted interventions to reduce BMI in girls who experience menarche at younger age may reduce CVD risk in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0209355
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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