Change in calorie burning patterns 'helps to explain teenage weight gain'

8 September 2016

A new study examining the way teenagers burn calories has offered an explanation as to why many adolescents experience a gain in weight.

The University of Exeter Medical School study has revealed that when youngsters reach puberty, they see a rapid drop in the number of calories they burn, even though this is a time when the number would be expected to rise in accordance with their growth spurt.

It was shown that 15-year-olds use 400 to 500 fewer calories daily while at rest compared to when they were ten years old, a fall of around one-quarter. Given that teenagers typically exercise less during puberty, this can lead to weight gain and obesity.

Professor Terry Wilkin of the University of Exeter Medical School said: "Child obesity and associated diabetes are both among the greatest health challenges of our time. Our findings can explain why puberty why teenagers gain excess weight in puberty, and it could help target strategies accordingly."

This builds on previous research from the same team last year that showed children are particularly susceptible to weight gain in infancy and again in puberty.

The first peak was deemed to be attributable to diet and lifestyle choices made by the child's parents, but the second peak was unexplained before now.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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