Living conditions and change in age of menarche in adult Maya mothers and daughters from Yucatan, Mexico

OBJECTIVES: To analyze whether living conditions, experienced by mothers and adult daughters during their childhood, are associated with age at menarche (AAM) in daughters. METHODS: From September, 2011, to January, 2014, AAM and childhood living conditions were collected from a sample of 246 dyads of Maya mothers (mean age = 59.60 years, SD = 8.64) and their adult daughters (mean age = 33.03 years, SD = 5.57) from the cities of Merida and Motul in Yucatan, Mexico. Indicators of childhood living conditions were number of siblings and quality of house construction materials in both generations, and father's absence among daughters in their pre-menarcheal years. Multiple regression models were used to assess the association between childhood conditions in mother-daughter dyads and daughter's AAM. RESULTS: The recalled mean AAM of adult Maya daughters was 12.05 years (SD = 1.53). After adjusting for the influence of mothers' AAM, number of siblings in both the mothers' and daughters' families directly predicted daughters' AAM (more siblings was associated with a later AAM); and a higher (better) index of household conditions in mothers' childhood was associated with earlier AAM in daughters. The household conditions index during the childhood of daughters and father's absence were not associated with their AAM. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that better living conditions experienced by the mothers and daughters during their childhood may lower mean AAM in daughters in the context of populations that show important intergenerational changes in their social and economic conditions.