Diabetes is a global health concern expected to affect 693 million people worldwide by 2045. It's been well documented how diet and exercise influence risk of type 2 diabetes; however, a new study suggests that early menarche also is associated with a higher risk, but body mass index (BMI) may mediate this association. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Although this is not the first study to suggest the association between menarche and diabetes, it provides added evidence regarding the increased risk, as well as the fact that BMI can partially mediate the association and the proportion of that effect is 28%.
Study results appear in the article "Early menarche is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in rural Chinese women and is partially mediated by BMI: the Henan Rural Cohort Study."
"This study of rural Chinese women indicates that the average age of menarche is delayed relative to western countries at 16.1 years and is linked with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Earlier onset of menses (14 y) was associated with diabetes in later life, likely driven by adult BMI. Other factors such as nutrition and BMI in childhood may also play a role in this association," says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.