Background: In western countries, age at menarche (AAM) is nowadays lower than a century ago, coinciding with increased Body Mass Index (BMI) and prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD). This study aimed to determine the time trend in AAM, and its association with BMI and NCD prevalence at later age, in Indonesia. Methods: We used secondary data of 15,744 women aged 15–65 years from the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) conducted in the period 1993 to 2015. Multiple linear regression was applied to determine the association of AAM with BMI, and Poisson regression with robust variance for investigating the association of AAM with NCD prevalence ratios. Models were adjusted for age, and effect modification by wealth status, living area, and region was investigated. Results: AAM has significantly declined from 14.4 (SD:2.1) years of age in the 1940s to 13.4 y (SD:1.5) in the 1990s. AAM was inversely associated with BMI (β: − 0.30 kg/m2, 95%CI: − 0.37, − 0.22) and body weight (β: − 0.67 kg, 95%CI: − 0.75, − 0.54), but was not associated with height. After adjustment for age, AAM was not associated with NCD, i.e. hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, liver diseases, asthma, chronic lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, or arthritis. Including BMI in the models did not change the results. Conclusions: From the 1940s to 1990s, AAM has declined with 1 year in Indonesia. Women with earlier AAM had higher BMI and body weight at later age, but AAM was not associated with NCD prevalence in later life in the Indonesian population. Further longitudinal research is needed to disentangle the direction of causality of the associations.
- Non-communicable diseases
- Nutritional status