Author(s): Padez C
Age at menarche was analysed in 753 Mozambican schoolgirls taking part in across-sectional anthropometric study in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2000. The probit analysis of the status quo data yielded an median age at menarche of 13.20 +/- 1.18 years. The retrospective method was applied only to recall data of the 396 post-menarcheal girls and it yielded an average of 13.91 +/- 1.29 years. Mean age at menarche in girls living in the urban centre of Maputo was 13.35 and 12.96 years, for recall age and probit analysis, respectively, and 14.51 and 13.68 years for girls living in the slums surrounding the centre. The differences in age at menarche, calculated by recall method, between girls from central Maputo and girls from the slums were statistically significant (p = 0.000). Parent's educational level also revealed a significant effect on age at menarche. Girls whose parents had a lower educational level showed a later age at menarche. For the size of the family, girls who were later borne had a higher age at menarche. In the 1960s, the age at menarche was 13.55 and 13.83 years in urban and rural girls, respectively. In this study, we found a lack of decrease in the mean age at menarche (13.9 years), which could be due to the poor living conditions in Mozambique between 1960 and 2000 as a result of the civil war from 1976 to 1990. Despite the economic growth of the country in the last decade, Mozambique is still in the group of the poorest countries in the world; in spite of this fact, the mean menarcheal age in these girls are amongst the lowest values presented for African countries.