All you bro-dads out there high-fiving at this news: it's probably not a good thing that American boys are maturing sexually at a younger age, and hitting puberty waaaaay before they should be.
We're talking 6 months to 2 years earlier than they used to — from 2005 to 2010, boys were growing pubic hair and achieving testicular enlargement before they should have been. There were some differences depending on race/ethnicity, with blacks entering puberty earlier than whites or Hispanics, though nobody could tell why.
The test included 4,131 boys ages 6 to 16 who took the Tanner staging and measurement of testicular volume conducted by 212 practitioners. Those who had chronic medical conditions or were taking medications had been taken out of the study to make sure things weren't being compromised.
Unfortunately this was just an observational study, so nobody was even looking into reasons as to why this was all happening, but the main guesses are chemical exposure and changes in diet, physical activity levels, and other lifestyle changes.
This also matches other recent studies that show that U.S. girls are entering puberty about a year earlier than they were 40 years ago!
We're sure you can understand why this isn't the greatest news — with sexual maturity comes a whole lot of situations that perhaps young minds can't properly handle just yet.
Make sure you're talking to your kids!
[Image via AP Images.]