Early onset of puberty during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: Experience from two Pediatric Endocrinology Italian Centers

Martina Goffredo, Alba Pilotta, Ilaria Parissenti, Concetta Forino, Cesare Tomasi, Paolo Goffredo, Fabio Buzi, Raffaele Badolato

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4 Scopus citations


Objectives: During COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, reports of evaluations for suspected precocious puberty significantly raised. We aimed to assess the increase of precocious puberty in patients referred to Pediatric Endocrinology Units of Brescia (Italy), to determine clinical characteristics of patients undergoing a GnRH stimulation test before and during lockdown and evaluate the role of environmental factors in pubertal development. Methods: Clinical and biochemical data of patients undergoing GnRH stimulation test were collected and stratified in two groups: March 2019 - February 2020 (Period 1) and March 2020 - February 2021 (Period 2). Results: A total number of 391 evaluations for suspected precocious puberty were identified in the two study periods: 183 (46.8%) first visits during Period 1, and 208 (53.2%) in Period 2. Sixty-one patients underwent a GnRH stimulation test (4.1% of first consultations) before the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, and 93 children (8.7%) after the lockdown. Thirty-four new diagnoses of central precocious puberty were registered during Period 1 (2.3%), vs. 45 new cases (4.2%) in Period 2. During lockdown patients evaluated for suspected precocious puberty underwent a stimulation test at younger age than those evaluated before pandemic (median age of 8.2 years vs. 8.4, p=0.04). In Period 2, children showed a median bone age advancement of 0.61 years vs. 1.06 of Period 1 (p=0.03). Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed an increased proportion of consultations for suspected precocious puberty. These children showed lower bone age advancement than observed in pre-lockdown suggesting the influence of pandemic-related lifestyle changes on pubertal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-298
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


  • central precocious puberty
  • COVID-19
  • environmental factors

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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