ONE in six girls in Britain is reaching puberty by the age of eight, according to research by Bristol University's Institute of Child Health. This compares to one in a 100 a generation ago.
The research, which tracked the development of 14,000 children from birth, also found that one in 14 eight-year-old boys had puic hair compared with one in 150 of their fathers' generation.
Some girls are physically able to become pregnant while at primary school, the report warned.
"It will mean we have to consider starting sex education much earlier, said Dr John Coleman, director of the Trust for the Study of Adolescence.