Original paper

Sexual maturation pattern in the mirror of socioeconomic background

Bodzsar, Eva B.; Zsakai, Annamaria

Abstract

The inequalities among the socioeconomic strata in the Hungarian society increased during the last decades. Since the socioeconomic conditions play a decisive part in shaping the growth and maturation of children, our purpose was to study the body structure and the growth and maturation pattern of children living in deprived regions in Hungary. Our former analysis revealed that the prevalence of non-normal nutritional status was significantly higher in children and adolescents living in the seriously deprived regions of Hungary than the national reference values. The main purpose of the present study was to compare the sexual maturation pattern of pubertal children living in the deprived regions by comparing the timing of pubertal maturation events to the national reference values. Sexual maturity status of 711 girls and 790 boys (aged 10–16 years) living in the deprived small regions of Hungary was compared to the national reference values (Hungarian National Growth Study II). Sexual maturity status was estimated by the stages of pubic hair, axillary hair, breast and external genitalia development, as well as by the menarcheal and spermarcheal status, respectively. The median ages of being in the pubertal stages of the sexual characteristics, menarcheal and spermarcheal age were estimated by probit analysis. By comparing it to the national reference values, the timing of pubertal development in boys and girls living in the seriously deprived regions showed a 1–3-month shift toward older ages. However, the length of sexual maturation: the interval between the median ages of the first and last pubertal stages of sexual characteristics was similar in the subjects living in the regions of Hungary as the Hungarian reference values.

Keywords

sexual maturationpubertydisadvantaged micro-regions of hungarysexual characteristicssocioeconomic backgroundmenarchespermarche