Determination of Relative Timing of Pubertal Maturation through Ordinal Logistic Modeling: Evaluation of Growth and Timing Parameters

Bin Huang, Frank M. Biro, Lorah D. Dorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose: (1) To propose a new method using statistical modeling to determine relative timing of pubertal maturation; (2) to validate the new method by evaluating its relationship with pubertal growth and timing parameters, including age at menarche, age onset of areolar maturation, age of peak height velocity, age at attainment of adult height, adult height, peak height velocity, body mass index, and percent body fat; and (3) to contrast the new method with relative timing of menarche on these pubertal parameters. Background: The timing of puberty has a well-known impact on anthropometric and psychosocial outcomes. Multiple methods have been used to determine pubertal timing, but all with limitations. A uniformly applicable method is needed for different study designs and study populations. Methods: Using the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study data, an ordinal logistic modeling was used to assess relative timing of pubertal maturation. Results: The proposed method demonstrated good reliability and strong associations with all pubertal timing parameters, also body mass index and percent body fat. Timing was not significantly associated with adult height and peak height velocity. Conclusions: The proposed method is highly feasible, easy to implement, and valid. The study demonstrated important differences between the relationships of relative timing of secondary sexual characteristics and the timing of menarche on pubertal parameters. The study also demonstrates that individuals with early or late timing at one point of time are likely to maintain the same relative timing throughout puberty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-388
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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