Age at menarche (AAM) is an effective marker of puberty timing but its onset could be influenced by several intrinsic and extrinsic factors. This study aimed to assess the AAM in a sample of Italian adolescents and to investigate its association with anthropometric variables. Considering the rise in overweight/obesity worldwide, special attention was paid to a possible decrease in AAM as adiposity indices increase. A longitudinal study was carried out on 117 middle school girls in Northern Italy. Data concerning menarche and anthropometric traits (standing and sitting height, weight, waist circumference, and skinfold thicknesses) were directly collected. Lower limb length and indices of adiposity and growth were calculated. The median AAM was 11.66 (95% IC: 11.31-11.68). Age-adjusted ANCOVA between mature and non-mature girls showed significant differences in growth-related traits and WHtR. No preponderance of overweight/obesity among mature participants was found. AAM was not significantly associated with weight or the growth velocity of adiposity indices in a subsample of maturers. Moreover, the median AAM of our sample was similar to that found in women born about 60 years ago in the same region. In conclusion, in addition to a stabilization of AAM since the 1960s, our results suggest that there is no significant correlation between increased adiposity and early AAM.
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