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Home Industry News Teenagers ‘naturally burn fewer calories once they hit puberty’

Teenagers ‘naturally burn fewer calories once they hit puberty’

8th September 2016

New research has made the surprising discovery that teenagers experience a dramatic decrease in the number of calories they burn while at rest once they hit puberty.

The study from the University of Exeter Medical School has indicated that 15-year-olds use 400 to 500 fewer calories while at rest per day compared to when they were ten years old. This represents a fall of around one-quarter.

Although calorie expenditure begins to climb again after they reach 16, the decline in early adolescence came as a shock, as this is a time when it would be expected that calorie burning would increase to compensate for pubescent growth spurts.

Professor Terry Wilkin of the University of Exeter Medical School said: "It could be that we have evolved to preserve calories to ensure we have enough to support changes in the body during puberty, but now we they have sufficient calories each day, the drop in spend means excess weight gain."

This trend was observed among both girls and boys and helps to explain why youngsters are particularly susceptible to weight gain in puberty, a peak that was previously unexplained.

Given that teenagers also often reduce their levels of physical activity compared to when they were younger, this puts adolescents at risk of becoming overweight and obese.

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