Boys Are Hitting Puberty Sooner And Here’s Why


Credit: John Giustina/Getty Images

Here’s some jaw-dropping (ball-dropping?) news: a nationwide study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that boys are entering puberty six months to two years earlier than ever before. On average, they’re becoming men at nine to 10 years old instead of 11 to 12–and experts don’t know why.

The cause might be “less physical activity” or “chemicals in food and water,” according to the New York Times. But we have some other explanations based on common sense, not pointy-headed (uh…) science.

Too Few Hormones/Antibiotics in Milk

Most parents blame early puberty on the weird stuff pumped into cows, says Stanford University endocrinologist Dr. Laura Bachrach, but she’s doubtful: “I don’t want people to get up in arms and rush out and buy organic milk.”

Yeah! Who wants to pay double for that hippie crap? You don’t even get anything extra, like tetracycline or sodium nitrite!

Perhaps the problem is that kids are drinking too much organic milk. For decades, American children were raised on whatever mysterious substances Big Dairy felt like adding. Only in the past few years have parents started to worry about these unnatural ingredients–and only in the past few years have boys entered puberty at nine years old. Coincidence? Mooooost likely not.

Global Warming

You know how in springtime, you suddenly notice beautiful women everywhere? That’s because they were beautiful all along; they were just hiding their curves underneath parkas and sweaters. However, as the climate heats up (largely due to those aforementioned cows), heavy winter clothes will become a thing of the past.

This was the hottest year on record. Since boys now see adult lady-skin year round,  their pituitary glands most likely scream, “I want me some of that!” and kick into gear. (We know ours do.)

‘The Hunger Games’

What’s the most popular book among youngsters today? Probably “Twilight,” but boys prefer the gruesome violence of Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games” trilogy, which pits children and teenagers against one another in mortal combat… or 22-year-olds in Jennifer Lawrence‘s case.

Kids have trouble differentiating fantasy from reality. (Remember when you thought your bedroom had monsters? Way scarier ones than the emo “Twilight” vampires?) It’s possible they believe “The Hunger Games” are a real thing, in which case size and strength would be a natural advantage. To them, puberty isn’t just a maturation process; it’s a survival strategy. May the odds (and testosterone) be ever in your favor.

Zombie Apocalypse Defense

The living dead are everywhere you look–on movie screens, on TV, on bath salts. If you’re going to survive, you’ll need enough muscle to wield an ax or a machete. For example, tiny Carl Grimes was a liability in “The Walking Dead”‘s first couple seasons, but now he’s thirteen and killing nearly as many “walkers” as his father Rick and crossbow-wielding redneck Daryl Dixon. And he’s even crushing on an older girl, which could help repopulate the earth.

So, is it bizarre and unsettling that kids are growing up faster? Yeah… but look on the bright side: it’s not as bizarre and unsettling as zombies eating your face off, we guess?

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Marty Beckerman (@martybeckerman) is the Associate Editor of Guy Code Blog