Children who put on weight quickly in their first few years are more likely to reach puberty at an earlier age, according to research.
Scientists found that those who gained weight quickly in the first two years of their lives started their puberty growth spurt an average of four months earlier than others.
Meanwhile, those who weighed between 2.5kg and 3kg at birth started their growth spurts around seven months earlier than heavier babies.
The research, conducted by scientists at the Research Institute of Child Nutrition in Dortmund, Germany, studied 215 boys and girls until the age of 13.
It was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), who said early puberty can carry a higher risk of developing cancers such as breast cancer and testicular cancer.
Lead researcher, Professor Anja Kroke, said: “By gaining a better understanding of why early puberty increases cancer risk, we can improve our understanding of the causes of cancer, and therefore raises the possibility of preventing future cases.”