Early menarche among urban Kenyan primary school girls
Background: Early menarche is associated with increased risk of developing gynecological cancer, cardiovascular and mental disease. Its prevalence shows ethnic and geographical variation, but there is barely any data from Kenya. Such data are important in informing school reproductive health programmes.
Objective: This study aimed at describing early menarche among primary school girls.
Methods: Two hundred and sixty two structured questionnaires were administered and analyzed to determine menarcheal age and its relationship with SES and academic performance among girls in 5 urban primary schools in Nairobi, Kenya.
Results: Over 10% of the girls attained early menarche, with 2% being under 10 years. Of these, 64.3% lived in middle class residential areas where parents earned at least 15 USdollars a day. The rest lived in lower SES residences with household income less than 1 US dollar a day. 53.8% of the early menarcheal girls compared to 21.8% of normal menarcheal girls experienced decline in academic performance.
Conclusions: Early menarche is a significant problem among urban primary school girls in Kenya especially those from higher income backgrounds and constitutes part of the causes of decline in academic performance. Further studies to identify the possible causes and mitigations including structured early reproductive health education as well as follow up of the victims for potential adverse health effects are
Keywords: Early menarche, Kenya, Academic performance
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