Journal Article

Age at Menarche in Relation to Maternal Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Coffee, and Tea during Pregnancy

Gayle C. Windham, Christian Bottomley, Cecilie Birner and Laura Fenster

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 159, issue 9, pages 862-871
Published in print May 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online May 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Age at Menarche in Relation to Maternal Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Coffee, and Tea during Pregnancy

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To investigate the potential effects of common early life exposures on age at menarche, the authors examined data collected in a follow-up study of pregnancies that occurred during the 1960s in California. Among 994 female offspring interviewed as adolescents, 98% had started their menstrual periods at a mean age of 12.96 years. After adjustment, the mean age at menarche was a few months earlier among girls whose mothers smoked a pack or more of cigarettes daily during pregnancy compared with unexposed girls (difference = –0.22 years, 95% confidence interval (CI): –0.49, 0.05) and more so among girls who were not White (difference = –0.52 years, 95% CI: –1.1, 0.08). Girls with both high prenatal and childhood passive smoke exposure had an adjusted mean age at menarche about 4 months earlier than those unexposed. The daughter’s mean age at menarche varied little by maternal prenatal alcohol consumption. Daughters of tea consumers had a later mean age (difference = 0.41 years at ≥3 cups (0.7 liter)/day, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.80) and were more likely to start menarche later (>13 years) (odds ratio = 1.7, 95% CI: 0.91, 3.2), but daughters of coffee consumers did not. These suggestive findings, which merit further investigation, may be related to hormonal effects.

Keywords: alcohol drinking; caffeine; menarche; puberty; smoke; tea; tobacco; tobacco smoke pollution; Abbreviations: AOR, adjusted odds ratio; CI, confidence interval.

Journal Article.  7195 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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