Systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between childhood physical activity and age at menarche.
Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992) 2018 ; 108: 1008-1015.
DOI : 10.1111/apa.14711
PubMed ID : 30588652
PMCID : PMC6563453
To systematically appraise and summarise published evidence on the association between childhood physical activity (PA) and subsequent age at menarche (AAM).
We searched PubMed (1990-2018) for studies that reported the relationship between childhood PA and AAM. We performed tabular synthesis of population-based studies and a random-effects meta-analysis of results of athlete/nonathlete studies.
One randomised controlled trial was identified, in which an intervention to prevent obesity reduced the likelihood of menarche during the two-year study period (relative risk: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.66-0.87; n = 422 girls). One of five prospective cohort studies (total n = 4492) reported a significant association between self-reported PA duration and subsequent menarche timing. Four of five historical cohort studies (total n = 89 470) reported significant associations between recalled premenarcheal PA and later AAM. Meta-analysis across 12 athlete/nonathlete studies showed that menarche occurred 1.13 years later (95% CI: 0.80-1.47) in athletes compared to nonathletes.
These findings suggest that AAM is a behaviourally modifiable trait. However, the quality of reported population-based study evidence is low and estimation of the true relationship between childhood PA and AAM is likely confounded by concomitant changes in diet and lifestyle behaviours.