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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 77-82

Family background and age at menarche among secondary schoolgirls in Nigeria

1 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Federal University, Lafia, Nigeria
2 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Monday Nwankwo
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Federal University, Lafia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jeca.jeca_39_16

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BACKGROUND: Menarche signifies the onset of menstruation and is one of the milestones in women's lives. AIM: The aim of the present study was to elucidate the influence of birth order, family size, parents' level of education, and body size parameters on age at menarche among samples of Nigerian secondary schoolgirls. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study of age at menarche of Nigerian secondary schoolgirls (n = 600) aged 11–18 years was done. The effect of birth order, family size, and parents' educational attainment on age at menarche was analyzed. Data pertaining to menarche and family background were collected using a self-administered structured questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS version 22. RESULTS: Mean age at menarche was 13.54 ± 0.90 years. Father's level of education showed statistical significant effect on the mean age at menarche (P < 0.05), while mother's level of education did not show significant influence on the mean age at menarche (P > 0.05). The result showed that firstborn girls have earlier age at menarche (12.82 ± 0.68 years) than later-born girls (14.09 ± 0.58 years, P < 0.01). Again, girls born in small families of one child, reach maturity earlier (12.78 ± 0.57 years), than those born in families of four or more children (14.02 ± 0.68 years, P < 0.01). Linear regression model using birth order and family size was used to ascertain the mean age of menarche for the overall sample population. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that birth order, family size, and parents' level of education have influence on age at menarche.

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