Child labour linked to earlier puberty in boys

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STAFF REPORT IBD: Data being presented at the joint International Congress of Endocrinology/European Congress of Endocrinology started at Florence, Italy, from May 5 show for the first time that boys who are made to work at a young age undergo puberty at an earlier age than their school-attending counterparts.
Dr Syed Shakeel Raza Rizvi of Pakistan Museum of Natural History/Pakistan Science Foundation, Islamabad, and his team from the PMAS Arid Agriculture University, RMC and NIH, studied 294 boys currently in work and compared them to 300 boys currently attending school.
They found there were significant differences in the hormone levels produced at different ages in boys who worked compared to boys who attended school. Production of LH and testosterone generally exhibits two peaks during puberty. In school-attending boys, these peaks occurred on average at age 15 and age 18.
The production of FSH and inhibin B peaked at 14 years of age in non-working boys versus 13 years of age in working boys. Both these hormones are involved in the process of sperm production. Boys who worked also had higher levels of cortisol compared to those who attended school.
Dr Syed Shakeel RazaRizvi, Deputy Secretary of the Pakistan Science Foundation, said: “Earlier studies have shown that the onset of puberty, leading to sexual maturation and ability to reproduce, is influenced by several internal and external factors.”


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