Finnish kids are hitting puberty at an earlier age than previous generations, adding to a growing body of evidence that the timing of puberty is changing throughout the western world. This trend has led the Finnish medical community to recommend puberty blockers for girls under eight who show signs of puberty.
Precocious puberty can stunt growth in adulthood, and girls who start menstruating early run a higher risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
Of the 370,000 seven to 12-year-olds living in Finland last year, 150 had received puberty blockers, up from 100 ten years ago, according to Statistics Finland.
To delay the onset of puberty, kids take injections of leuprorelin, a synthetic hormone also used to treat prostate and breast cancer as it suppresses sex hormones.