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Greater male variability in daily energy expenditure develops through puberty.

Published version

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Repository DOI


Change log

Authors

Ainslie, Philip N 
Alemán-Mateo, Heliodoro 
Andersen, Lene F 

Abstract

There is considerably greater variation in metabolic rates between men than between women, in terms of basal, activity and total (daily) energy expenditure (EE). One possible explanation is that EE is associated with male sexual characteristics (which are known to vary more than other traits) such as musculature and athletic capacity. Such traits might be predicted to be most prominent during periods of adolescence and young adulthood, when sexual behaviour develops and peaks. We tested this hypothesis on a large dataset by comparing the amount of male variation and female variation in total EE, activity EE and basal EE, at different life stages, along with several morphological traits: height, fat free mass and fat mass. Total EE, and to some degree also activity EE, exhibit considerable greater male variation (GMV) in young adults, and then a decreasing GMV in progressively older individuals. Arguably, basal EE, and also morphometrics, do not exhibit this pattern. These findings suggest that single male sexual characteristics may not exhibit peak GMV in young adulthood, however total and perhaps also activity EE, associated with many morphological and physiological traits combined, do exhibit GMV most prominently during the reproductive life stages.

Description

Peer reviewed: True

Keywords

age, height, inter-individual variation, morphometry, weight, Adolescent, Young Adult, Female, Humans, Male, Adult, Puberty, Sexual Behavior, Reproduction, Energy Metabolism, Phenotype

Journal Title

Biol Lett

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1744-9561
1744-957X

Volume Title

19

Publisher

The Royal Society