Adolescent girls with a history of premature pubarche have an increased incidence of functional ovarian hyperandrogenism [a form of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)] at adolescence, which is usually associated with hyperinsulinemia and dyslipemia. The hyperinsulinemia and lipid disturbances can often be detected in the prepubertal period and throughout puberty, and are associated with an exaggerated ovarian androgen synthesis. Birthweight SD scores are lower in premature pubarche girls than in control girls, and particularly so in those girls who show hyperinsulinemia and subsequently develop ovarian hyperandrogenism. Therefore, although the mechanisms interlinking the triad of premature pubarche, hyperinsulinism and ovarian hyperandrogenism remain enigmatic, these data indicate that the triad may result, at least in part, from a common early origin, rather than from a direct interrelationship later in life. (J. Endocrinol. Invest. 21: 558-566, 1998) (C) 1998, Editrice Kurtis.