Association between the onset age of puberty and parental height

Yehuda Limony, Slawomir Koziel, Michael Friger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The onset age of physiological puberty is greatly variable. This variability has been attributed to environmental factors and to genetic factors although a very little is explained by genome-wide associations studies. Previously, we reported the existence of an association between the onset age of puberty and final height. It is known that final height is associated with parental height (specifically, with the "target height"). We hypothesized that the variability of the onset age of puberty contributes to the attainment of a final height which is similar to the target height. We hypothesized that whenever a child's height-percentile differs from the target height percentile (we called this difference the "height gap"), the onset of puberty is advanced or delayed so that they are closer or even equal at the end of pubertal growth. The association between height gap and onset age of puberty was investigated in the reported study. Methods: The study is an observational retrospective study on growth during puberty in 170 Israeli (60 girls) and 335 Polish children (162 girls). Anthropometric measurements were analyzed by multivariable linear regression with the onset age of the pubertal growth spurt (PGS) as the dependent variable, and two independent variables "height gap" and body mass index (BMI)-both standardized. Results: The adjusted coefficient of determination (adj R 2 ) between the onset age of the PGS and the two independent variables was 0.69 (Israeli girls), 0.50 (Israeli boys, BMI excluded), 0.25 (Polish girls) and 0.13 (Polish boys). A prediction model for the onset age of puberty is presented. Conclusions: The association between the "height gap" and the onset age of puberty suggests that the variability of this age is part of the targeted process of statural growth. The proposed model may explain idiopathic cases of precocious and delayed puberty.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211334
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • General


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