Age at spermarche: 15-year trend and its association with body mass index in Chinese school-aged boys

Y. Song, J. Ma*, H. J. Wang*, Z. Wang, P. W. C. Lau, A. Agardh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Little is known about the secular trends in age at spermarche among boys, and the association between body mass index (BMI) and male puberty is controversial.

    Objective: This study aimed to estimate the trend in age at spermarche in China and explore the association of spermarche with BMI.

    Methods: We used four cross-sectional Chinese National Surveys on Students' Constitution and Health (CNSSCH; 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010). Median age at spermarche was determined using probit analysis. Logistic regression was used to assess the association of spermarche with BMI.

    Results: Age at spermarche among Chinese boys dropped from 14.57 to 14.03 years from 1995 to 2010 with a decrease of 4.3 months per decade. Boys with BMI-for-age z-score lower than −2 had the latest age at spermarche. A higher BMI or BMI-for-age z-score was associated with an increased likelihood of having reached spermarche, and this association was consistently observed at all survey points.

    Conclusion: This study provides important evidence of a secular trend of earlier age at spermarche over the past 15 years in China, and this decrease was accompanied by a simultaneous increase in BMI. Strategies and interventions focusing on thinness may promote both their nutritional status and puberty development among Chinese boys.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)369-374
    Number of pages6
    JournalPediatric obesity
    Issue number5
    Early online date25 Sept 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Health Policy
    • Nutrition and Dietetics
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

    User-Defined Keywords

    • body mass index
    • puberty
    • spermarche


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