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STUDY: Early puberty may increase heart disease risks for women

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(CNN) -  Women who begin puberty before their teens could be at a higher risk of heart disease later in life.

Researchers working on the ongoing Framingham Heart Study found evidence that girls who start menstruating before age 12 are 23 percent more likely to develop heart disease as adults.

Those same girls were said to be at a nearly 30 percent higher risk of death from heart attack or stroke.

Doctors were investigating the relationship between body mass index, or BMI, and heart disease, and whether age of reaching puberty plays a role in either.

The groundbreaking Framingham study has been closely following a large group of women and their children and grandchildren since 1948.