Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Brief Report

Maternal Age of Menarche and Adiposity

Evidence from Hong Kong’s “Children of 1997” Birth Cohort

Lai, Tsz Chun; Au Yeung, Shiu Lun; Lin, Shi Lin; Leung, Gabriel Matthew; Schooling, C. Mary

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000448

Background: Earlier age of menarche predicts chronic diseases. Earlier maternal age of menarche is also associated with higher body mass index (BMI) and height into childhood.

Methods: We used generalized estimating equations in Hong Kong’s “Children of 1997” birth cohort to examine the adjusted association of maternal age of menarche with BMI and height z score, and whether associations varied by maternal birthplace.

Results: Earlier maternal age of menarche was not associated with infant BMI but was associated subsequently with higher BMI in childhood and at puberty. Maternal age of menarche was negatively associated with height in children of Hong Kong-born mothers, but positively associated with infant length for children with mothers born in China (P value for interaction 0.02).

Conclusion: These different patterns suggest drivers of adiposity and linear growth differ, and are more influential in some circumstances. Understanding these drivers may indicate setting-specific interventions to prevent childhood obesity.

From the aSchool of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China; and bCity University of New York, School of Public Health and Hunter College, New York, NY.

Submitted 14 January 2015; accepted 20 January 2016.

This work is a substudy of the “Children of 1997” birth cohort, which was initially supported by the Health Care and Promotion Fund, Health and Welfare Bureau, Government of the Hong Kong SAR (HCPF Grant #216106) and re-established in 2005 with support from the Health and Health Services Research Fund (HHSRF Grant #03040771), and the University Research Committee Strategic Research Theme (SRT) of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong. This substudy builds on information added to the birth cohort by RFCID Grant #04050172 and HHSRF Grant #07080751, Government of the Hong Kong SAR.

The authors report no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Supplemental digital content is available through direct URL citations in the HTML and PDF versions of this article (

Correspondence: C. Mary Schooling, G/F Patrick Manson Building (North Wing), 7 Sassoon Road, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China. E-mail:

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.