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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 95-99

Age at menarche among secondary school girls in an urban population of Nigeria

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
James A Osaikhuwuomwan
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Benin, Benin City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-0149.144844

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Background: Menarche signals the beginning of reproductive years in women. In recent times, the age at menarche has shown a downward trend, and this may be potentially influenced by biosocial factors. Objective: The objective was to determine the current mean age at menarche among secondary school girls in Benin-city and the influence of biosocial factors. Materials and Methods: The study was a cross-sectional descriptive study of secondary school girls in Benin-city. Data collection was by use of pretested self-administered questionnaires. Biophysical parameters of the respondents were also obtained. Age at menarche was compared with social and biophysical indices. Results: Of the 1,408 respondents, 952 (67.6%) had attained menarche. Mean age at menarche of 12.3 ± 1.18 years was estimated. About 16.0% of the respondents attained menarche while still at primary school. Mean menarcheal age was influenced by the social status of parents, being lowest among girls from social class 1 (11.8 ± 1.25 years) and highest among girls from social class 5 (14.1 ± 1.14 years), P = 0.0001. Other factors that influenced mean menarcheal age included family type and size. Anthropometric parameters of postmenarcheal girls were also higher than those of their premenarcheal colleagues. Conclusion: In line with a global trend the age at menarche in Benin-city is lower in this study with reference to previous reports. This was positively influenced by some biosocial factors (such as higher weight/body mass index and mid-arm circumference). Furthermore, the observation of menarche even among primary school girls suggests a need for early initiation of enlightenment and education in adolescent reproductive health.

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