Greater male variability in daily energy expenditure develops through puberty

Lewis G. Halsey*, Vincent Careau, Philip N. Ainslie, Heliodoro Alemán-Mateo, Lene F. Andersen, Liam J. Anderson, Leonore Arab, Issad Baddou, Linda Bandini, Kweku Bedu-Addo, Ellen E. Blaak, Stephane Blanc, Alberto G. Bonomi, Carlijn V. C. Bouten, Pascal Bovet, Soren Brage, Maciej S. Buchowski, Nancy F. Butte, Stephan G. Camps, Regina CasperGraeme L. Close, Lisa H. Colbert, Jamie A. Cooper, Richard Cooper, Prasangi Dabare, Sai Krupa Das, Peter S. W. Davies, Sanjoy Deb, Christine Delisle Nyström, William Dietz, Lara R. Dugas, Simon Eaton, Ulf Ekelund, Asmaa El Hamdouchi, Sonja Entringer, Terrence Forrester, Barry W. Fudge, Melanie Gillingham, Annelies H. Goris, Michael Gurven, Hinke Haisma, Catherine Hambly, Daniel J. Hoffman, Marije B. Hoos, Sumei Hu, Noorjehan Joonas, Annemiek Joosen, Peter Katzmarzyk, Kitty P. Kempen, Misaka Kimura, William E. Kraus, Wantanee Kriengsinyos, Rebecca Kuriyan, Robert F. Kushner, Estelle V. Lambert, Pulani Lanerolle, Christel L. Larsson, Nader Lessan, Marie Löf, Corby K. Martin, Eric Matsiko, Gerwin A. Meijer, James C. Morehen, James P. Morton, Aviva Must, Marian Neuhouser, Theresa A. Nicklas, Robert M. Ojiambo, Kirsi H. Pietilainen, Yannis P. Pitsiladis, Jacob Plange-Rhule, Guy Plasqui, Ross L. Prentice, Roberto Rabinovich, Susan B. Racette, David A. Raichen, Eric Ravussin, Leanne Redman, John J. Reilly, Rebecca M. Reynolds, Susan Roberts, Dulani Samaranayake, Luís B. Sardinha, Albertine J. Schuit, Analiza M. Silva, Srishti Sinha, Anders M. Sjödin, Eric Stice, Albert Stunkard, Samuel S. Urlacher, Mauro Eduardo Valencia, Giulio Valenti, Ludo M. van Etten, Edgar A. Van Mil, Jeanine A. Verbunt, Jonathan C. K. Wells, George Wilson, Brian Wood, Tsukasa Yoshida, Xueying Zhang, Alexia Murphy-Alford*, Cornelia Loechl*, Amy Luke*, Herman Pontzer*, Jennifer Rood*, Hiroyuki Sagayama*, Klaas R. Westerterp*, William W. Wong*, Yosuke Yamada*, John R. Speakman*, IAEA DLW Database Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    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 decrease in the degree of 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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20230152
    Number of pages5
    JournalBiology Letters
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2023

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • age
    • height
    • inter-individual variation
    • morphometry
    • weight


    Dive into the research topics of 'Greater male variability in daily energy expenditure develops through puberty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this