Parents of teenage boys now have evidence to back up the claim that they could be eaten out of house and home, from a US study (published in the July edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) that says 14- to 17- year-old boys will eat a lunch of 2,000 calories given the chance.
Researchers from the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that boys routinely ate more compared with girls their age. Boys in their mid-teens were the most ravenous. Researcher Jack A. Yanovski says the pattern made sense, given that boys usually hit their growth spurt in late puberty. Girls showed the biggest increase in appetite during early- to mid-puberty (ages 10-13). That pattern is in line with girls’ development, Dr Yanovski says, as they have their most significant growth spurts in early- to mid-puberty, before boys.
Even for active children, those 2,000 calories would be most of their daily energy needs. But Dr Yanovski adds that as long as teens are healthy and normal weight, a sudden surge in eating should not be alarming. However, calories should be controlled for overweight teens as it can lead to adult obesity.