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Impact of Breastfeeding Duration on Age at Menarche – Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey

Impact of Breastfeeding Duration on Age at Menarche


Al-Sahab, Ban; Adair, Linda S.; Hamadeh, Mazen J.; Ardern, Chris I.; & Tamim, Hala (2011). Impact of Breastfeeding Duration on Age at Menarche. American Journal of Epidemiology, 173(9), 971-977. PMCID: PMC3121225


The study aims to assess the relation between breastfeeding duration and age at menarche. Analysis was based on a cohort of 994 Filipino girls born in 1983–1984 and followed up from infancy to adulthood by the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. The main outcome was self-reported age at menarche. Cox regression was used to investigate the relation between duration of exclusive and any breastfeeding with age at menarche with adjustment sequentially for specific sets of known socioeconomic, maternal, genetic, and prenatal confounders. The estimated median of age at menarche was 13.08 years. After adjustment for potential confounders of the association of breastfeeding with age at menarche, exclusive breastfeeding duration retained an independent and significant association with age at menarche. An increase in 1 month of exclusive breastfeeding decreases the hazard of attaining earlier menarche by 6% (hazard ratio = 0.94, 95% confidence interval: 0.90, 0.98). Any breastfeeding duration was not associated with age at menarche. Although this is the first longitudinal study that reveals a negative association between exclusive breastfeeding and early menarche, the relation is still elusive. Further longitudinal studies within different contexts are warranted to assess the generalizability of these findings.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Epidemiology


Al-Sahab, Ban
Adair, Linda S.
Hamadeh, Mazen J.
Ardern, Chris I.
Tamim, Hala