Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


Zvart Onanian School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



Background: The early onset of puberty poses threats to a child'™s social, emotional, and physical well-being including an increase in the risk of developing chronic conditions. Studies have shown an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast and endometrial cancers for adults who experienced menarche earlier than their peers (Villamor & Jansen, 2016). Data has shown most females of higher weight have experienced menarche at younger ages than those of lesser weight.

Purpose/Specific Aims: The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the influence of weight, on the timing of puberty onset in adolescent females.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted for articles comparing the onset of menarche and weight in females using EBSCOHost, Google Scholar, and CINAHL Plus. Inclusion criteria included female participants, menarche as the determining factor for onset of puberty, written in English in the last ten years, early onset puberty, and obesity, overweight, or elevated BMI as an influencing factor. Only articles using the onset of menarche as the determining factor for the onset of puberty were included.

Results: The initial search yielded 35 studies; four met the inclusion criteria for this review. No randomized control studies met inclusion criteria. Commonalities between studies included a higher incidence of earlier menses in females with higher amounts of adipose tissue, higher BMIs, increased dietary fat, and/or higher prepubescent weights. Limitations of this study include, but are not limited to, recall bias for age of menses, age of menses often reported in whole years rather than exact age, and limited sample size.

Conclusion: Results of this study show an association between increased prepubescent weight in females and earlier onset of menarche. Considering these findings, efforts should be made to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity and the risk of early menarche.