Early menarche is associated with lower adult lung function: A longitudinal cohort study from the first to sixth decade of life

Brittany Campbell, Julie A. Simpson, Dinh S. Bui, Caroline J. Lodge, Adrian J. Lowe, Melanie C. Matheson, Gayan Bowatte, John A. Burgess, Garun S. Hamilton, Benedicte Leynaert, Francisco Gómez Real, Paul S. Thomas, Graham G. Giles, Peter A. Frith, David P. Johns, Gita Mishra, Judith Garcia-Aymerich, Debbie Jarvis, Michael J. Abramson, E. Haydn WaltersJennifer L. Perret, Shyamali C. Dharmage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objective: Early menarche is increasing in prevalence worldwide, prompting clinical and public health interest on its links with pulmonary function. We aimed to investigate the relationship between early menarche and lung function in middle age. Methods: The population-based Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (born 1961; n = 8583), was initiated in 1968. The 5th Decade follow-up data (mean age: 45 years) included age at menarche and complex lung function testing. The 6th Decade follow-up (age: 53 years) repeated spirometry and gas transfer factor. Multiple linear regression and mediation analyses were performed to determine the association between age at menarche and adult lung function and investigate biological pathways, including the proportion mediated by adult-attained height. Results: Girls reporting an early menarche (<12 years) were measured to be taller with greater lung function at age 7 years compared with those reporting menarche ≥12 years. By 45 years of age, they were shorter and had lower post-bronchodilator (BD) forced expiratory volume in 1 s (adjusted mean difference: −133 mL; 95% CI: −233, −33), forced vital capacity (−183 mL; 95% CI: −300, −65) and functional residual capacity (−168 mL; 95% CI: −315, −21). Magnitudes of spirometric deficits were similar at age 53 years. Forty percent of these total effects were mediated through adult-attained height. Conclusion: Early menarche was associated with reduced adult lung function. This is the first study to investigate post-BD outcomes and quantify the partial role of adult height in this association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-297
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cohort studies
  • epidemiology
  • longitudinal studies
  • menarche
  • pulmonary function tests


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