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Author: Gardner, William P.
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Reagan, Patricia Benton
Salsberry, Pamela J.
Fang, Muriel Z.
Gardner, William P.
Pajer, Kathleen
African-American/White Differences in the Age of Menarche: Accounting for the Difference
Social Science and Medicine 75,7 (October 2012): 1263-1270.
Also: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953612004327
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Birthweight; Body Mass Index (BMI); Menarche; Poverty; Racial Differences; Smoking (see Cigarette Use); Weight

Lifetime health disparity between African-American and white females begins with lower birthweight and higher rates of childhood overweight. In adolescence, African-American girls experience earlier menarche. Understanding the origins of these health disparities is a national priority. There is growing literature suggesting that the life course health development model is a useful framework for studying disparities. The purpose of this study was to quantify the influence of explanatory factors from key developmental stages on the age of menarche and to determine how much of the overall race difference in age of menarche they could explain. The factors were maternal age of menarche, birthweight, poverty during early childhood (age 0 through 5 years), and child BMI z-scores at 6 years. The sample, drawn from the US National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth Child–Mother file, consisted of 2337 girls born between 1978 and 1998. Mean age of menarche in months was 144 for African-American girls and 150 for whites.

An instrumental variable approach was used to estimate a causal effect of child BMI z-score on age of menarche. The instrumental variables were pre-pregnancy BMI, high gestational weight gain and smoking during pregnancy. We found strong effects of maternal age of menarche, birthweight, and child BMI z-score (−5.23, 95% CI [−7.35,−3.12]) for both African-Americans and whites. Age of menarche declined with increases in exposure to poverty during early childhood for whites. There was no effect of poverty for African-Americans. We used Oaxaca decomposition techniques to determine how much of the overall race difference in age of menarche was attributable to race differences in observable factors and how much was due to race dependent responses. The African-American/white difference in childhood BMI explained about 18% of the overall difference in age of menarche and birthweight differences explained another 11%.

Bibliography Citation
Reagan, Patricia Benton, Pamela J. Salsberry, Muriel Z. Fang, William P. Gardner and Kathleen Pajer. "African-American/White Differences in the Age of Menarche: Accounting for the Difference." Social Science and Medicine 75,7 (October 2012): 1263-1270.