When do girls start to menstruate ?
According to a survey conducted in 1994, half of all girls in France have already started menstruating by age 13. Menstruation, a key marker of female puberty, is beginning earlier in life than it used to.
Most girls in France (9 out of 10) have their first period between ages 11 and 14, according to data from the Enquête Analyse du comportement sexuel des jeunes (ACSJ; Survey and Analysis of youth sexual behaviour), a survey of adolescents’ sexual development and behaviour conducted in 1994. The survey also found that 6 out of 10 adolescent girls had begun to menstruate at age 12 or 13. At age 13.1, half of all girls in France have already had their period.
The age of first menstruation has fallen considerably over the last two centuries
In the last two centuries, the average age at first period has been falling continuously in France. In 1750 it is estimated to have been close to 16; by 1850 it was down to 15, and by 1950 it had fallen to 13. In 1994, it stood at 12.6 years of age. Young girls are reaching puberty at younger ages than before in all wealthy countries. Improved diet is one of the causes to which the trend is attributed.
Will age at first period continue to fall?
In the late twentieth century, the average age at first period levelled off in several countries, including the United States and Japan, at 12.5 to 13.5 years of age. It is likely that this also occurred in France.
The mean age at first period now stands at 13.1; that is, by this age, half of girls have already had their period.
The average age at first period is 12.6; it is at this age, on average, that a girl has her first period.
The Enquête Analyse du comportement sexuel des jeunes (ACSJ) survey was conducted in 1994 by the Agence Nationale des Recherches sur le SIDA (ANRS; National AIDS research agency) with 6,175 adolescents (3,341 boys and 2,834 girls) born between 1975 and 1978.