Data on growth and sexual maturation among boys from the rural Western Cape in South Africa is limited. A cross-sectional study of 269 school boys was conducted testing for serum luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and estradiol (E2); height, weight and body mass index (BMI); sexual maturity (using Tanner Stages) and a questionnaire (demographic and medical history). The median age at pubertal onset (Tanner Stage 2) and Tanner Stage 5 was 11.6 and 14.7 years, respectively. The median testicular volume was 5.5 mL at Tanner Stage 2 increasing from 2.5 mL at Tanner Stage 1 to 14.7 mL at Tanner Stage 5. Height and weight measurements were <25th & 50th percentile references at Tanner Stages 1-3. Controlling for confounders, serum FSH and LH increased (p < 0.05) from Tanner Stage 1 to 4 (by 4.1 and 3 mL respectively), and serum testosterone and estradiol increased after Tanner Stage 2 (by 12.7 nmol/L and 59.5 pmol/L respectively). These results indicate some delays in pubertal development of boys in the rural Western Cape when compared to boys from other settings possibly due to nutritional, socio-economic and environmental exposures. Changes in serum hormone levels were consistent with other populations. Initiatives to improve nutrition amongst Western Cape rural communities are recommended.
Mao, J., & Dalvie, M. A. (2016). Anthropometric Measurements, Serum Reproductive Hormonal Levels and Sexual Development among Boys in the Rural Western Cape, South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(12). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121185