Background: The mean age at menarche varies from one setting to another. Individual differences in timing of menarche are associated with age differences in the onset of sexual activity and first pregnancy. The study was conducted to determine the mean difference of age at menarche and body mass index (BMI) among government and private high-school students of Mekelle city.
Method: A cross sectional study design was conducted in selected 6 governmental and private schools of Mekelle city. A total of 290 study subjects were interviewed. Systematic random sampling method was used to select study subjects. An independent sample t-test was done for two independent groups to compare age at menarche among governmental and private school girls in relation to various variables. One-way ANOVA and Pearson’s correlation analysis was conducted on the combined analysis for the relationship between age at menarche and independent variables.
Result: The mean age at menarche was 14.24 year ±1.42 SD. The mean age at menarche was one year younger for private school girls compared with government school girls (t=6.2, P<0.001). Time spending sitting in a day (r= −0.25, p<0.001) duration of sleeping (r= -0.13, p=0.03), living in their own house (t= -2.42, P<0.05) were negatively correlated with age at menarche. There was significant difference of age at menarche among the participants maternal education (F=6.0, P<0.001), Father’s education (F=8.45, P<0.001), and father’s job (F=9.55, P<0.001). The mean BMI of the participants was 20.22 ± 2.66 SD. More than quarters of the participants were underweight (26.3%).
Conclusion: The mean age of menarche found in this study was higher than the report from other African countries. The mean age at menarche was statically different among the government and private school girls. Time spending sitting, duration of sleeping, living in their own house were negatively correlated with age at menarche.