Throughout your family’s CPP journey, you may be exposed to a great deal of information… and not all of it is reliable. We talked to Pediatric Endocrinologist Jadranka Popovic about one common CPP myth: That lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, and home environment have an impact on the development of CPP.
Lifestyle Choices Do Not Cause CPP
There is no scientifically proven direct correlation between CPP and diet, exercise, or environmental factors. While some forms of CPP are genetic and run in families, and a very small number are related to organic causes (like central nervous system lesions), the majority of CPP cases are idiopathic, without a known etiology or cause. “Parents are sometimes concerned and wonder if certain types of foods or environmental exposures, or other factors could have caused CPP,” explained Dr. Popovic. “It is important to provide assurance that it is not parents’ fault when their child is diagnosed with CPP.”
Genetics Can Play a Role in Some Cases of CPP, but Other Factors Exist, too
Again, while a mother’s age at first menstruation can affect the timing of her daughter’s first menstrual cycle or a father’s age of starting shaving might affect the timing of puberty in his son, there is still great variability in the timing of menarche (first menstrual cycle) among the females in the same family as it is influenced by factors other than just genetics. If a parent was either an early or late bloomer, the child may or may not follow the same pubertal timing. If there are any parental concerns for possible CPP, the child should be evaluated by a pediatric endocrinologist, recommends Dr. Popovic.
Perceived Associations Between Lifestyle and CPP Are Inconclusive
Although there have been speculations about links between CPP and body mass index (BMI), as well as between CPP and added hormones in food, plastics, and possible prenatal exposure to certain chemicals, no perceived association has been scientifically validated. The association between childhood obesity and pubertal advance and timing of menarche is currently debated. Dr. Popovic explained that most recent studies looking into this found a higher number of girls with early puberty among those with obesity, but there was no difference in the age at menarche between girls with normal weight and those who were obese. Dr. Popovic concluded that more prospective, long term studies are needed to look into the correlation between BMI and timing of puberty.
In short, if your child has been diagnosed with CPP, it is not your fault. All you can do is consider treatment and continue to lovingly support them through the changes ahead.