Sexual Maturation and Physical Status among the Adolescent Jain Girls of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India
Chatterjee, Moumita; Chakrabarty, Suman; Dutta, Nupur; Mukherji, Dipak; Bharati, Premananda
This cross-sectional study is aimed at understanding the nature of sexual maturation vis à vis physical status of the Jain girls in comparison with other data of India. A survey was carried out to assess the development of secondary sexual characters in the background of a purely vegetarian diet, and measurements of height and weight. The present study represents 50 individuals in each age group from 8 through 18 years of Jain girls of Madhya Pradesh (MP), India. Sexual maturation has been studied in association with onset of menarche among 11 through 16 year old girls only. The results show that the early onset of menarche does not, in general, help development of secondary sexual characters among the Jain girls. Comparison with a sample of South Indian girls from Andhra Pradesh (AP), who have attained menarche, reveals that AP girls develop secondary sex characters (breast and pubic hair) earlier than Jain girls, but the latter overtakes with higher frequencies at higher ages. A purely vegetarian diet may have a role in delaying maturation of secondary sex characters. Comparison in height and weight between Jain girls, MP girls and All India girls (ICMR) show higher mean values for Jain girls at almost all ages than those of the other samples. An early spurt (9-10 years) in height among Jain girls is noted. Therefore, there is no apparent relation between physical status and development of secondary sex characters among the Jain girls of MP, India, but menarche seems to have a positive role in that regard.