Tuesday October 16, 2018

Children who grow up in Poorer Homes more likely to experience Puberty earlier than their Peers: Study

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Melbourne, May 24, 2017: Children who grow up in poorer homes are more likely to experience puberty earlier than their peers, said an Australian study on Wednesday.

The study, published by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), found that boys in disadvantaged homes were four times as likely to being puberty at age 10 or 11, while girls were twice as likely, Xinhua news agency reported.

Researchers surveyed the parents of 3,700 children who were part of the ‘Growing Up’ Australia programme on how their children were maturing and the age at which they started to show signs of puberty.

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Ying Sun, a visiting academic at the MCRIs from China and lead author of the study, said 19 and 21 per cent respectively of all boys and girls surveyed showed signs of puberty at age 10 or 11 but boys from disadvantaged home were 4.2 times more likely to be part of that group than boys from a favorable background.

She said the difference could be attributed to the bodies of children from poorer families perceiving themselves to be in a dangerous environment.

“I look at it as an evolutionary point,” Sun told Xinhua.

“I think humans are very sensitive to our early childhood environment… and when we feel we are in a dangerous environment our body tells us to fasten our speed of maturation to produce more kids to ensure our genes are passed on to the next generation.” The research has prompted concerns for children growing up in lower socio-economic areas, with early puberty being linked to a series of health complications later in life.

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“Early maturation not only links with emotional, behavioral and social problems during adolescence, it also carries several risks for later life such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and especially reproductive tract cancers, that is the most important thing,” Sun said.

Researchers were able to identify children from disadvantaged homes by gathering data on the annual income going into the household where they were raised.

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World Hunger To Rise Due To Climate Change: WFP

The number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America.

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WFP
Malnourished and displaced Somali children sit in a tent in their camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

The World Food Program warns climate change will have a devastating impact on agriculture and the ability of people to feed themselves. The WFP forecasts a huge increase in worldwide hunger unless action is taken to slow global warming.

The WFP warns progress in reducing global hunger is under threat by conflict and the increase in climate disasters. For the first time in several decades, the WFP reports the number of people suffering from chronic food shortages has risen.

This year, it says, 821 million people went to bed hungry, 11 million more than the previous year.

World Hunger, WFP
Gatdin Bol, 65, who fled fighting and now survives by eating fruit from the trees, sits under a tree in the town of Kandak, South Sudan. VOA

Gernot Laganda, WFP’s chief of Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, notes the number of climate disasters has more than doubled since the early 1990s. He says extreme weather events are driving more people to flee their homes, leading to more hunger.

He told VOA the situation will get much worse as global temperatures rise.

“We are projecting that with a two-degree warmer world, we will have around 189 million people in a status of food insecurity more than today. And, if it is a four-degrees warmer world, which is possible if no action is taken, we are looking beyond one billion more. So, there is a very, very strong argument for early and decisive climate action,” said Laganda.

World Hunger, WFP
Faduma Hussein Yagoub, a polio sufferer, came with her family to Dadaab from Somalia. Her husband and two of her five young children died of hunger on the way. Despite the dangers thousands of refugees every week are making the journey, walking for weeks across the desert and braving attacks by armed robbers and wild animals:

Data from this year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report by six leading U.N. agencies show the bulk of losses and damages in food systems are due to drought and most of these disastrous events occur in Africa.

Also Read: Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Laganda says the number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America. He notes that until recently progress in Asia had led to a reduction in world hunger, but that trend has slowed markedly. (VOA)