A three-year-old girl has enlarged breasts, a sign of early puberty, and her mother's cosmetics, which contain hormone, may be to blame.
The girl kisses her mother every day and may have ingested the hormone, said doctors.
"Some cosmetics contain estrogen, which can delay skin aging," said Dr Yan Fengting, a gynecologist. "A child's skin has a stronger penetrating power. The estrogen can enter a child's body through the skin."
Experts claim an unhealthy lifestyle and wanton use of medicines and tonics have seriously affected the growth of local children. More cases of obesity, short figure and early puberty have been reported.
According to Dr Jiang Jinjin, director of the outpatient service dealing with children at Changhai Hospital, her department has seen 20 to 40 patients every day during the summer holiday, double the usual figure.
"Due to parents' poor awareness and their own fatty diet, more than 20 percent of local children are obese," said Jiang. "In addition to obesity, early puberty is another problem."
"High-calorie diet, fast food and abuse of tonics are the cause of early puberty," she said. "Mothers should not share adult skin care products or cosmetics with their children."
Experts said local children's puberty period has been advanced due to good nutrition. It normally starts between 12 to 13 years old.
Early puberty means girls have enlarged breasts before they are eight years old or have periods before they are 10.
For boys, they have sexual development before nine, doctors said.
(Shanghai Daily July 28, 2005)