Current health literature suggests that there has been a decline in the age of pubertal onset and that pubertal onset/duration of puberty may, besides weight status, be influenced by socioeconomic context.
The goal of this study was to determine whether pubertal onset/duration and puberty-triggering hormones luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) vary according to socioeconomic status (SES). Moreover, we aimed to propose cutoff values of serum LH and FSH for predicting gonadarche in boys.
2,657 apparently healthy children and adolescents between 5.5 and 18 years from the area of Leipzig were recruited from the LIFE Child study. Age at pubertal onset/end of puberty was given in 738/573 children, respectively. Anthropometric parameters of puberty, blood measurements of LH and FSH, and questionnaires assessing SES were evaluated.
Lower SES was associated with earlier thelarche and longer duration of puberty in overweight/obese girls, whereas age of menarche was not affected. In boys with low SES, a trend versus earlier puberty onset can be seen. Lower SES was significantly associated with boys’ age at mutation. No significant differences in boys’ and girls’ serum levels of LH and FSH during puberty according to SES were observed. Serum LH levels of 0.56 IU/L and serum FSH levels of 1.74 IU/L showed the best prediction of gonadarche in boys.
Puberty onset/duration and boys’ age at mutation is affected by SES. The proposed cutoff levels for serum LH and FSH could provide a serological tool to determine gonadarche in boys.

© 2021 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.