Childhood obesity may affect adult fertility

As more and more girls are entering puberty at a younger age, the long term effects of this trend are being investigated.

Childhood obesity is believed to induce puberty earlier, as fat cells produce estrogen.

By altering a girl’s hormonal physiology at a younger age, some researchers believe that a her fertility timeline can also be affected.

In fact, early puberty may decrease a woman’s fertility by disrupting the normal regulation of reproductive hormones.

One theory is that the signalling of kisspeptin, a neuro-hormone involved in reproduction, is disrupted by endocrine signals from fat.

Another theory is that a girl’s circadian clock, which controls sleep-wake cycles, may be disrupted by early puberty.  Abnormal sleep-wake cycles can affect the secretion of cortisol, testosterone, and insulin, thus affecting normal reproduction cycles.

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