This chapter explores the associations between housing quality and timing of puberty in urban Black and Hispanic girls. Methods: Black and Hispanic girls living in New York City, ages 6 to 8 years (n = 416), were enrolled in a longitudinal study, Growing Up Healthy. After 8 years, we had information on housing and puberty stages for 331 girls. Interviews administered to guardians gathered information on caregiver education and whether they lived in public or private housing. Stages of breast and pubic hair development and body mass index (BMI) were assessed annually by pediatric providers and trained field staff. Overall, BMI and pubertal stages (any breast development [stage B2+] vs none, and pubic hair, any vs none) were examined in relation to housing, race/ethnicity, and caregiver education. Results: Forty percent of the cohort was overweight irrespective of housing. The proportion of girls having earlier B2+ was similar among Black and Hispanic girls regardless of housing type. Pubic hair development occurred earlier in Hispanic girls living in public housing compared to those living in private housing (p < 0.01, adjusted for BMI and caregiver education). Among Hispanic girls, 48% of those living in private housing began pubic hair development before 10 years old whereas 79% of those living in public housing began pubic hair development before 10 years old. Conclusion: Preliminary unadjusted analyses suggest a potential role for housing type on development of puberty in girls. Housing quality may be associated with earlier age of pubic hair growth in Hispanic girls.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Health Disparities
Subtitle of host publicationCosts and Benefits of Breaking the Cycle
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781634842129
ISBN (Print)9781634842112
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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