An international team of scientists, funded in part by NSF, analyzed the average number of calories burned by more than 6,600 people, across 29 countries, ranging in age from one week to 95 years and learned that infants had the highest metabolic rate, burning calories faster than all other age groups. Learn more with NSF's "The Discovery Files."
Credit: National Science Foundation
Hi! I'm Mo Barrow with The Discovery Files, from NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.
You might think your metabolism is just like a car's engine; if you go faster, you burn more fuel. But it's a lot more complicated!
Our metabolic rate is how fast we burn calories, the energy we get from food.
An international team of scientists, funded in part by NSF, analyzed the average number of calories burned by more than 6,600 people, across 29 countries, ranging in age from one week to 95 years.
They learned that pound for pound, infants had the highest metabolic rate, burning calories faster than all other age groups, even highly active teenagers.
Energy needs shoot up during the first 12 months of life. A one-year-old's gas-guzzling metabolism burns calories 50% faster for their body size than an adult.
The scientists also learned that, when adjusted for differences in body composition and size, our metabolic rate from age 20 to 60 is pretty steady!
These discoveries provide new insights on human development and aging and may help to design nutrition and health plans across our life span.
Discover how the U.S. National Science Foundation is advancing research at nsf.gov.
"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.
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