A soaring number of girls started puberty early during the pandemic, which could be due to stress or reduced physical activity,
A study looked at 133 girls in Italy referred to a specialist paediatric unit because their chest had started developing before the age of eight.
There is a significant lack of knowledge about the causes of children going through puberty early, but some experts have suggested the blue light from screens and a lack of exercise could disrupt girls’ normal hormonal development.
Children generally enter puberty earlier than in the past because rates of obesity are higher, and carrying too much fat can disrupt the hormones which determine when a child becomes a teenager.
However the study did not find a significant difference in the weight of girls diagnosed as going through puberty early before the pandemic and during it.
Before the pandemic, just 41 per cent of girls referred to the clinic were found to have rapidly progressive early puberty, but that rose to 53.5 per cent during Covid.