Puberty at 10: How It Affects Girls


Still, by that time, Holmes still had the largest breast size among her peers. Taunted by the girls, Holmes said most of her friends were boys.

"Being the youngest girl with the largest chest and having only male friends at this point made me the 'slut,'" said Holmes. "That was probably the most damaging of all of the insults I received. I carry those words in my head to this day and am always worried of how people perceive me."

As an adult, Holmes said she is still very large-chested compared to her peers.

"In the end, the bullying and teasing I was victim to as a child greatly impacted my quality of life in middle and high school and still now in college," she said.

Children become obese by eating more calories than they can burn, said Hruz. These children often snack between meals and eat fast foods high in calories. The stress after a family breakdown can trigger emotional overeating and a more sedentary lifestyle.

"Family dynamics contribute to all of these factors with unscheduled and unsupervised eating and poor food choices," said Hruz. "We often see obesity in the parents of obese children. In stable and intact families where traditional meals are prepared and shared together, it is much more likely that healthy eating habits will develop and be maintained."

Parents can help their children avoid obesity by encouraging their children to overcome stress by becoming physically active, said Dr. Seema Kumar, a pediatric endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic.

"Exercise by itself helps in decreasing stress," said Kumar. "Parents can also encourage children to deal with stress by avoiding over eating and opting for healthier food options. It is however very important for parents to become good role models and follow these healthy habits themselves."

Holmes said her mother went through similar bullying as a youngster, but said she hopes to break that cycle of the "emotional hell" she went through when she has her own family some day.

And she said she feels for young girls today.

"I can only imagine what girls who go through puberty early must feel now, with all of the sexualization of women in the media," said Holmes.

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