For Parents does gymnastics delay puberty?

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duyetanh

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...my DD is thankfully nowhere near this stage, but I keep hearing it from various people about how certain sports like running and gym can push it out, especially if the child started the sport at a fairly young age. Thought I would ask here. When did your child start in terms of stages, etc? I am just looking at age ranges in comparison to the average child with a higher bmi who does no athetics.
 
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sce

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I think it depends on the intensity. It did not delay it for my son or daughter but neither are doing high hours. Part of it is that they need a certain amount of body fat for the hormone production and kids who work out around 20 hours per week tend to have too little body fat for puberty to progress.
 

profmom

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Canadian_gym_mom

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I don't generally like these threads but i will just say my dd is 11 not 12 until late in the year. She had a couple of weeks off and discovered her 8 pack abs were missing and she gained about 5 pounds. I know that it is a natural progression that Pre puberty they gain some weight, and that a break from gym can bring this on.

I know that many of her team mates about 2-3 years older have got their periods, but i will also compare that i belong to a mom group online with kids born the same month and year as my dd. so many of these 11 year olds have their periods and have developed very much, and it is so foreign to me. 90% of them are also quite overweight as well, who were not overweight a year or 2 ago.

So i think it comes down to age, genetics and most influentially, activity level.
 

Iwannabemargo

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Interestingly, though body fat and menarche are linked it has not been proved whether it is causal, or a result of puberty.
 

Iwannabemargo

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Interestingly, though body fat and menarche are linked it has not been proved whether it is causal, or a result of puberty.
 
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duyetanh

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I was a very competitive swimmer and didn't have my period until 14 and a half...could benchpress my weight quite easily. I had not much fat on me.
 

Shooosh

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I was a 'Shawn type' gymnast. Short and stocky working in level 9 when I got my period at 13 1/2. I was heavier than many girls. Probably weighed 115 at 5'2".
My daughter is a swimmer and runner. She easily runs 20 miles/week. She was 4'5" and 71 lbs on her 11th birthday and she got her period days after her 12th birthday when she weighed 90lbs and is now 4'10". I cannot believe how she's grown during puberty. She is just as active as ever...she has just grown out of the 'skinny' stage. She has/had less body fat than me as a child and she got her period over a year earlier.
 

MILgymFAM

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I always thought it was a body fat thing, but my DD was always clinically underweight with almost no body fat (she can't even float, lol!) but puberty started at 11 and her menses at 12. Whenever she consistently trains over 18-20 hours a week, though, it stops- so there is definitely a connection, even if I don't understand it.
 

Canadian_gym_mom

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I always thought it was a body fat thing, but my DD was always clinically underweight with almost no body fat (she can't even float, lol!) but puberty started at 11 and her menses at 12. Whenever she consistently trains over 18-20 hours a week, though, it stops- so there is definitely a connection, even if I don't understand it.
Oh my gosh! Is that why my dd can't float? We were t a salt water pool a while back and i loved it because i was buoyant in the deep end and she was like a rock! I couldn't understand why she didnt float like me! And she swims but it takes her a great effort to keep above water. She is solid muscle with just now 2 weeks off some indication of puberty fat creeping in.

She trains 25 hrs a week otherwise.
 

mimi

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I will say that dd who does gymnastics has a very low BMI (considered underweight) and she is showing very little signs of puberty. The told me maybe stage 1 at her last checkup, and she is going to be 13 in a month so very delayed.

Ydd is not a gymnast, has a BMI in the normal range, plays soccer. In my opinion she is further along into puberty than even my 13 year old, and she is only 10.

I have often wondered if it is the gymnastics or just their individual genetics. They have both always been the way they are. In other words, ODD has always been small, super skinny, even before gymnastics and YDD has always been a little more on the normal/stocky side even as a young baby and toddler.

The doctor did tell me that without a certain amount of body fat, girls cannot produce enough estrogen for a period, so at this point I am pretty much counting on YDD to get hers before ODD. That should make things interesting in our house. :/
 
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COz

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Edited to add -- I'd expect to see more causal relationship in rhythmic, and the study Margo cites also looks only at elites.
Interesting. Bearing in mind that we don't have college gym here, our rhythmic girls tend to compete for much longer than artistic. At training we have many more older girls in rhythmic than artistic. They tend to be tall and skinny, but 'developed'. Much more so than our artistic girls. (Well, except for one of ours who, um, is quite spectacular!)
 

raenndrops

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It has to be individual genetics... I was always heavy, but started last of all my friends... 14 years and 1 month old (34.6 bmi).
OG started this past school year as did one of her 12 year old gymnast friends and one of YGs 11 year old friends that is underweight.
 

munchkin3

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Definitely a mix of genes, and intensity. All three of mine are what I would consider late bloomers. My 15 yo son in 10th grade is in early puberty (gymnast for 8 years).......son #2 is 13 but can easily pass for 10 (he does NOT do gymnastics) and lastly my DD is 10 but could pass for 7 or ,8 (training 16 hrs) ..... My husband and I were not early either........
Also once kids are training 20-25 plus, you may start running into delayed puberty because of BMI......A coach once said to me that the reason most gymnasts are small, is because the tall, big, early puberty kids end up quitting.....the small ones excel quicker and have more success, therefore sticking with the sport.
 
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MILgymFAM

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Oh my gosh! Is that why my dd can't float? We were t a salt water pool a while back and i loved it because i was buoyant in the deep end and she was like a rock! I couldn't understand why she didnt float like me! And she swims but it takes her a great effort to keep above water. She is solid muscle with just now 2 weeks off some indication of puberty fat creeping in.

She trains 25 hrs a week otherwise.
My DD just got home from sports medicine camp today- they spent time in a therapeutic pool as a part of camp and they explained it to her. We always thought it was weird!
 

MaryA

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I have twin daughters (fraternal) and my gymnast who was practicing about 20 hours a week got her period nearly a year before her dancer sister who was only dancing about 10 hours a week. Not that that proves or disproves anything... just interesting. I did notice that my gymnast did seem to have growth spurts when she was injured and not able to practice as intensely.
 
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gracyomalley

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Most of the girls DD trains with have followed family genetic patterns, irregardless of training hours/ body fat...although training tips out at 20 hours a week here. It is, however, ideal on gymnastics to be strong but slow growing with constitutional delayed puberty!

Honestly I secretly hoped (not really) that the 20 hours a week and six pack would give DD an extra year or so, but no, she was right on the familial target! Which, of course, is a sign she's healthy even if it makes upper level gym a bit more challenging for a while.

As a pediatrician I honestly don't worry about the gymnasts. Now the high level runners? That's a concern
 
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catova

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I was actually going to post this same question this week. I have been concerned about DD's slow growth during the last year or so and wondering if it was gymnastics-related. She competed L7 this winter/spring/ with 16 hrs/week training. She's now 12 yr 3 mos old and 70 lbs/ 4'8", which dropped her down to 6% for height on growth chart, whereas she was tracking 20% through age 10. Doc had her do the wrist bone x-ray to see if there was a delayed bone aging but it's right at 12...so she doesn't have 'extra bone growing years' in the bank. Her doc (old school, wonderful female pediatrician who's seen it all in her 35+ years of practice) says her experience has been that hard core runner and gymnast patients who have lean builds to start don't have the body fat they need to kick puberty into gear and it gets stretched out. Could be a coincidence, but a bone fracture plus family travel kept DD's gym hours very limited for 6 weeks earlier this summer,and guess what, during that time she actually gained 3 lbs and a whole inch!

My older dd (just turned 14), and most females in my family (as well as my husband's sister/her two DD's ) started their periods at age 11-12, yet gymnastics DD has no typical signs of puberty yet...

I come from a tall family and am the only (relatively) short person at 5'4"; my sis is 6" taller than me. DH's sister/mom/nieces are only 5'2", and I figured that's why my DD's are more petite... older DD (just turned 14) is 5'3" and likely done growing...and gymnast DD is 4" shorter than older DD was at same age...

I have always been skeptical of the 'gymnastics can delay puberty' theory but I do see it as a plausible factor right now as it plays out in front of my eyes...next step is DD will get additional testing to rule out growth hormone or other issues...
 

munchkin3

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I see all shapes and sizes in the gym......all ages, and all stages.....
I hope my little gets her period as late as possible because it is a huge headache.
 
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