Plasma Insulin Concentration in Newborns and Children and Age at Menarche

Guoying Wang, Sally Radovick, Jessie P. Buckley, Russ Hauser, Paige L. Williams, Xiumei Hong, Colleen Pearson, William G. Adams, Xiaobin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE To investigate the association of plasma insulin levels and their trajectories from birth to childhood with the timing of menarche. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS This prospective study included 458 girls recruited at birth between 1998 and 2011 and followed prospectively at the Boston Medical Center. Plasma nonfasting insulin concentrations were measured at two time points: at birth (cord blood) and in childhood (age 0.5–5 years). Age at menarche was obtained from a pubertal developmental questionnaire or abstracted from electronic medical records. RESULTS Three hundred six (67%) of the girls had reached menarche. The median (range) age at menarche was 12.4 (9–15) years. Elevated plasma insulin concentrations at birth (n = 391) and in childhood (n = 335) were each associated with an earlier mean age at menarche: approximately 2 months earlier per doubling of insulin concentration (mean shift, 21.95 months, 95% CI, 20.33 to 23.53, and 22.07 months, 95% CI, 20.48 to 23.65, respectively). Girls with overweight or obesity in addition to elevated insulin attained menarche about 11–17 months earlier, on average, than those with normal weight and low insulin. Considering longitudinal trajectories (n = 268), having highinsulinlevelsbothatbirthandinchildhoodwasassociatedwitharoughly6months earlier mean age at menarche (mean shift, 26.25 months, 95% CI, 20.38 to 211.88), compared with having consistently low insulin levels at both time points. CONCLUSIONS Our data showed that elevated insulin concentrations in early life, especially in conjunction with overweight or obesity, contribute to the earlier onset of menarche, suggesting the need for early screening and intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1238
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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