A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Poverty linked to early periods start

When I was about to enter puberty in the early Sixties, I was surrounded by people, much older, who appeared to liken the whole thing to a mixture of cricket and confirmation. It was a rite of passage, I believed. I was completely bewildered by it all, or at least by my nebulous thoughts. Why was the neighbour's boy so spotty? "It's part of growing up!" was the usual answer. Any "why" questions were met with a situation of grand obfuscation. How it has changed over the decades since.

Children are no more challenged, though. They seem to have different challenges. Medical science is far more knowledgeable but therein lies the problem, I think. Too much information. Not a day goes by now without some scientist claiming something new. More theory than fact, but it comes out into the open, and we digest it as best we can.

The latest news is that girls from poorer backgrounds are more likely to start their periods at a younger age, thereby increasing their risk of breast cancer. Poor diet is to blame, plus being overweight. But the gap is not that great. Three or four months if the figures are to be believed. I'm not sure what these studies prove. Study author Danielle Morris, from The Institute of Cancer Research in Surrey, said the results suggested that girls, particularly from poorer backgrounds, are starting their periods younger. "While we don't know all the reasons behind this, changes in diet may have played a part. This decrease is important because the age at which a girl starts her periods can influence her chances of developing breast cancer later in life."

My mother always claimed she started "far too early" and was quite miffed about it, as we heard every so often if the subject of puberty cropped up. She never had breast cancer. And she wasn't struggling in poverty at puberty. Neither was she overweight.

I don't decry medical science trying to improve our lot. Quite the opposite, for I'd not be here if they had just stayed with Hippocrates. But we get these reports on a regular basis, some often contradicting themselves. Do they really help, especially with regard to habits? Smokers have been told for years they are doing themselves harm. Doesn't stop them. Will those in poverty sit up and think about this report? I tend to doubt it. And with everything like this, expense is not far behind. I can't see government money going alongside this.

I suppose my point is that reports like this just add to the sum total of things that could go wrong if we do them. But also if we do them we may never get what we are told we could get. In that sense life is still a sort of lottery.


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