Bulgarian Study Claims Boys Enter Puberty Earlier

December 7, 2010, Tuesday // 11:50
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Study Claims Boys Enter Puberty Earlier
According to a Bulgarian study, boys today enter puberty a year earlier than their fathers' generation. Photo by BGNES

A study conducted in Bulgaria has shown that boys today enter puberty faster than their fathers' generation, reaching the milestone an average of a year earlier.

The results of the survey suggested that the tendency for entering puberty earlier is not limited only to girls, who have already shown that they develop sexually at increasingly younger age.

In the review, reported in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, researchers from Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles compared 6,200 Bulgarian boys with results of a similar 1970s study, both measuring height, weight, testicular volume, penis length and circumference.

According to the researchers who led the study, several decades ago, a leap forward in the sexual development occurred at ages 13 through 16, while today this happens between 12 and 15 years of age.

The researchers found that boys' testicles did not grow substantially until the beginning of puberty, around age 11. However, penises grow gradually from birth to sexual maturity, starting at 5 cm and reaching an average length of 9,5 cm by the age of 19.

The 1970s study showed that boys of the same age had relatively smaller genitalia, but size differences disappeared by the age of 17.

According to the researchers, genetic, environmental, nutritional and educational factors could be the reasons for the faster development today. However, they have not stated what impact earlier puberty might have had on men's health.

It also remains unclear whether there are specific differences between populations from different parts of the world.

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