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Different brain energy | Obesity in children gaining weight



It is well-known that we tend to increase when we consume more calories than we spend. However, it is less well known that our brain consumes half the body's energy in early childhood. Studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report that varying the energy needs of children's brain development in terms of timing, intensity, and duration of energy expenditure can influence patterns of energy expenditure and weight gain.

"We all know how much energy our body burns is an important factor in weight gain. When children are five years old, their brains consume almost half of their body's energy. However, we do not know how much brain energy consumption varies among children. This is a big gap in our understanding of energy use, "said Christopher Kuzawa, co-author of the study.

"A major goal of our work is to draw attention to this gap in understanding and to encourage researchers to measure them. Energy consumption of the brain in future studies on the development of the child, especially in terms of understanding of weight gain and of obesity risk. "

" We believe it is plausible that increased brain energy consumption could be an unexpected benefit for early childhood development programs. Of course, many others have proven benefits. That would be a great win-win situation, "Kuzawa said.

This new hypothesis was inspired by the study by Kuzawa and his colleagues in 201

4, which shows that the brain consumes a life-long peak of two-thirds of the body's resting energy consumption. Half of total spending in children over the age of five years.

This study also shows that the age at which the energy needs of the brain increase in early childhood is also associated with a diminishing weight gain. As the energy requirement for brain development in older children and adolescents decreases, so does the weight gain rate.

"This finding corroborates a long-standing anthropological hypothesis that human children have much slower growth than other mammals and primates compared to children, in part because their brains need more energy to develop," Kuzawa said.

Published: June 23, 2019, 10:50 am | Updated: June 23, 2019, 10:52 pm


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