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The timing of adrenarche in Maya girls, Merida, Mexico

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journal contribution
posted on 09.01.2020, 11:37 by Sarai Keestra, Gillian Bentley, Alexandra Núñez-de la Mora, Lauren Houghton, Hannah Wilson, Adriana Vázquez-Vázquez, Gillian Cooper, Federico Dickinson, Paula GriffithsPaula Griffiths, Barry BoginBarry Bogin, Ines Varela-SilvaInes Varela-Silva
Background
Adrenarche involves maturation of the hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal axis and increased production of dehydroepiandrosterone and its sulfate ester, dehydroepiandrosterone‐sulfate (DHEA‐S). It occurs at ages 6 to 8 in industrialized populations, marking the transition from childhood to juvenility and cognitive development at middle childhood. Studies in subsistence level populations indicate a later age (8‐9) for adrenarche, but only two such studies currently exist for comparison.

Aims
To investigate adrenarcheal age among Maya girls and its association with body composition and dietary variables. We hypothesized adrenarche would occur earlier given the current dual burden of nutrition in Mexico.

Materials and Methods
25 Maya girls aged 7 to 9 from Merida, Mexico using ELISAs to measure salivary DHEA‐S, standard anthropometry for height, weight, and skinfolds, bioelectrical impedance for body composition variables, as well as a food frequency questionnaire for dietary information.

Results
Our hypothesis was rejected—adrenarche occurred close to 9 years. While no measures of body composition were significantly associated with adrenarcheal status, girls eating meat and dairy products more frequently had significantly higher DHEA‐S levels.

Discussion
Like other populations living in ecologically challenging environments, adrenarche occurred relatively late among Maya girls. Adrenarche has been linked to measures of body composition, particularly, the adiposity or body mass index rebound, but no relevant anthropometric measures were associated, possibly because of the small sample.

Conclusion
Further studies are required to illuminate how adrenarcheal variation relates to developmental plasticity, body composition, pubertal progression, and animal product consumption in other transitional populations.

Funding

Wenner-Gren Foundation, Grant #ICRG-93

Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowship

Wellcome Trust/National Institutes of Health (NIH) scholarship

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

American Journal of Human Biology

Volume

33

Issue

2

Publisher

Wiley

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© the Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Wiley under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

19/06/2020

Publication date

2020-07-09

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

1042-0533

eISSN

1520-6300

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Ines Varela Silva Deposit date: 7 January 2020

Article number

e23465

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Categories

Exports