Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2001 Volume 12, Number 4
©2001 Gürze Books
Early puberty and early advanced sexual development can increase the risk of bulimic behavior, according to the results of a recent study in Finland (J Adolesc Health 2001; 28:346). The Finnish researchers suggest that to help prevent bulimic behavior and for early intervention, attention should be given to girls that mature early and boys that mature either very early or very late.
The School Health Promotion Study is a classroom survey among Finnish adolescents about health, health behavior and school experiences. A total of 19,321 boys and 19,196 girls responded to the survey. The researchers used a questionnaire formulated according to criteria in the DSM-IV. The onset of puberty was assessed by self-reported age at menarche or oigarche.
Among the girls, early menarche, early sexual experiences and increasing age were linked to bulimic type eating. Among the boys, onset of ejaculations at the normal age was protective for bulimic-type eating and the risk rose among boys who were very early or very late maturers.