UMMS Affiliation

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center; Department of Pediatrics

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Age Factors; *Body Composition; Child; Estradiol; Female; Follicle Stimulating Hormone; Gonadal Steroid Hormones; Humans; Insulin; Leptin; Longitudinal Studies; *Menarche; Physical Fitness


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


AIM: To present a visual representation of changes in body composition, leptin, insulin, estradiol and follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) levels in relation to menarche in girls. METHODS: Participants were a subset of healthy girls (n = 108) enrolled in a longitudinal study of growth and development conducted at the General Clinical Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Participants were seen annually from before menarche until 4 years postmenarche for measures of body composition and serum levels of leptin, insulin, estradiol and FSH. Body composition was determined by bioelectrical impedance. Standardized body composition and hormone levels were smoothed and plotted relative to menarche to visualize patterns of change. RESULTS: At menarche, the mean percentage body fat (%BF) of girls was 24.6% (SD = 4.1%) after menarche %BF was approximately 27%. Leptin levels averaged 8.4 ng/mL (SD = 4.6) at menarche and were approximately 12 ng/mL after menarche. Changes in leptin levels closely paralleled changes in %BF. Insulin, estradiol and FSH levels followed expected patterns relative to menarche. Leptin began rising closer to menarche than did insulin or the other sex hormones. Conclusion: We provide a visual presentation of hormonal and body composition changes occurring throughout the pubertal period in girls which may be useful in generating new hypotheses related to the timing of menarche.

DOI of Published Version



Acta Paediatr. 2008 Oct;97(10):1454-9. Epub 2008 Jul 24. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID