A new study has found a link between drinking sugary drinks and earlier menstruation in girls.
Researchers looked at data from 5,583 girls between the ages of 9 and 14 who had not yet started their period. From 1996 to 1998, they answered a diet questionnaire annually, and by 2001, 159 had still not yet started to menstruate. After controlling for maternal age at menarche, physical activity, several behavioral and dietary factors, and birth weight, researchers discovered that girls who drank one-and-a-half 12 ounce cans of non-diet soda or sweetened iced tea had their first period an average of 2.7 months earlier than girls who drank less than two cans a week.
"Our findings are robust, and not dependent on body mass index," lead author Karin B. Michels, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, told The New York Times. "Sugared beverages are not healthy to begin with, and there should be heightened attention to avoiding them." Studies have already shown that starting menstruation at an earlier age is associated with an increased risk of endometrial and breast cancer later in life.
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