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African-American/white differences in the age of menarche: Accounting for the difference

Patricia B. Reagan, Pamela J. Salsberry, Muriel Zheng Fang, William P. Gardner and Kathleen Pajer

Social Science & Medicine, 2012, vol. 75, issue 7, 1263-1270

Abstract: Lifetime health disparity between African-American and white females begins with lower birthweight and higher rates of childhood overweight. In adolescence, African-American girls experience earlier menarche. Understanding the origins of these health disparities is a national priority. There is growing literature suggesting that the life course health development model is a useful framework for studying disparities. The purpose of this study was to quantify the influence of explanatory factors from key developmental stages on the age of menarche and to determine how much of the overall race difference in age of menarche they could explain. The factors were maternal age of menarche, birthweight, poverty during early childhood (age 0 through 5 years), and child BMI z-scores at 6 years. The sample, drawn from the US National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth Child–Mother file, consisted of 2337 girls born between 1978 and 1998. Mean age of menarche in months was 144 for African-American girls and 150 for whites.

Keywords: USA; Race disparities; Menarche; Childhood BMI; Instrumental variables; Age; Girls (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.05.018

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