Annals of Human Biology vol:17 issue:2 pages:145-52
The age at menarche in a national sample of 4894 Flemish schoolgirls was surveyed in 1979-1980. The probit estimate of the mean age at menarche was 13.20 +/- 0.02 years (SD = 1.25 years). This estimate falls well within the range of reported ages at menarche for girls in northwestern Europe, but is slightly later than those for French-speaking girls in Belgium and in France. Status quo secular data for the 20th century indicate a decline in estimated mean ages at menarche of Flemish girls from about 14.3 years before World War II to 13.6 and 13.2 years, respectively, among girls born just before and during the war. Subsequently, mean ages at menarche of Flemish girls are fairly stable between 13.0 and 13.2 years. These secular changes are of the same magnitude as those observed in other European countries.