The pediatrician’s first reaction to then second-grader Kayla Haye’s budding breasts—a sign of the child’s premature puberty—was to consider placing her on therapeutic hormones.
“A 7-year-old on hormone medication? Well that’s not gonna happen,” said Adrianne McDonald-Haye, Kayla’s mom, recalling her response to that suggestion eight years ago. “Just the idea of putting my child on hormones triggered all kinds of concerns.”
So the Brooklyn, N.Y. mother took a different course of action, scouring the web and probing other parents on the topic. Ultimately, she was persuaded by claims—including from some physicians—that consumption of hormone-laden meat and poultry was linked to early-onset puberty, which is on the rise in general and more prevalent among Black children.