Research has discovered earlier puberty onset in both girls and boys with diabetes. Puberty in both girls and boys with type 1 diabetes has shifted forward over the last two decades, according to research presented at the 61st Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting in The Hague. Furthermore, longer diabetes duration, larger waistlines, and lower blood sugar levels were linked to even earlier puberty development.
The most frequent type of diabetes in children is type 1 diabetes. Puberty causes hormonal changes that can have an impact on metabolic regulation in diabetes. For example, the body can grow more resistant to insulin, raising blood sugar levels. Many studies have found earlier puberty onset around the world in recent years, notably in healthy girls. Diabetes, on the other hand, has been linked to a delay in pubertal onset in children.
Researchers from Germany examined data from the German DPV registry on the onset of puberty and pubic hair development of 65,518 children aged 6 to 18 years who were all diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 2000 and 2021. In this study, researchers from Germany analysed data on the onset of puberty and pubic hair development of 65,518 children aged 6-18 years, all diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 2000 and 2021, from the German DPV registry.
They discovered that over the last two decades, both girls and boys have reached puberty six months earlier than before. This outcome was more pronounced in children who had diabetes for a longer period of time, were overweight, or had lower blood sugar levels. “While the findings for girls align with previous research, our study is groundbreaking in revealing a similar trend in boys with type 1 diabetes for the first time,” said lead researcher Dr Felix Reschke from the Children’s Hospital Auf Der Bult in Hanover.
“As a result, we now anticipate that the average onset of puberty in boys with diabetes will occur just before the age of 12 (11.98 years).”
He added: “Our study demonstrates that children with diabetes are also experiencing this trend towards earlier puberty, which is already known in healthy girls, but not evident in boys yet. It’s also important to note that previous research indicated that type 1 diabetes may lead to delayed pubertal onset, thus our study provides new insights into the complex relationship between type 1 diabetes and puberty onset.”
Many factors that alter puberty in children, such as healthy girls, have been associated with early puberty. However, early puberty often does not have an obvious cause.
“Our research not only sheds light on the evolving landscape of puberty timing in children with type 1 diabetes but also underscores the intricate interplay between metabolic factors, hormones, and environmental influences,” said Dr Reschke. “Further investigations are warranted to explore these dynamics comprehensively and inform targeted interventions for this vulnerable population.”