Biological medium, environmental health and ovarian maturation: age of the first period (Morocco) 

Biological medium, environmental health and ovarian maturation: age of the first period (Morocco) 
1989. Three generations of Moroccan women, Tannernit, High Atlas (Morocco) © AEEH

Biological medium, environmental health and ovarian maturation: age of the first period (Morocco) 

The age of sexual maturity is an indicator of environmental health and an important determinant of sexual and reproductive health for women and their descendants.

Towards the end of the 19th century girls in rural Morocco in the region of the Atlas reached sexual maturity at about 14 years old, while their contemporaries in the city of Marrakech, who had better levels of nutrition and were free of child labour, had their first period at about the age of12.5, like Spanish girls of the same generation.

Although city girls who were studied in Marrakech and Madrid in the mid 1990s show similar average ages, there is a very different proportion of early maturity, before the age of 12: 23% for Marrakech girls and 43% for those in Madrid.

The sharp rise in early sexual maturity age is linked to a greater risk of excess weight, obesity and dyslipidemia.