A special note to mothers: Obesity affects not only you but your daughter too. Daughters of overweight women enter puberty early, suggest research findings from the National Institutes of Health that were reported by Reuters.

As part of a study, researchers interviewed 597 women ages 22 to 32 to determine their age at first menstruation. The daughters of 121 women reported getting their first menses at age 11 or younger. The rest disclosed that they got their period at older ages.

Researchers compared this information with the mothers’ pre-pregnancy weight, height and other information recorded for the 1959 to 1966 Collaborative Perinatal Project.

Study results indicated that daughters of obese women were three times more likely to begin menstruating before age 12 as compared with daughters of women who weren’t overweight.  

But more research is needed to explain these associations, scientists said.

Principal investigator, Sarah A. Keim, MD, indicated that carrying excess weight throughout pregnancy might alter fetal development “in ways we are still trying to understand.”

Find out why nearly half of African-American adults are obese here.