The incidence of gynaecomastia was evaluated in 954 healthy young men aged 18-26 years, and was correlated with several somatometric parameters (height, weight, testes size, eye colour, scalp hair colour, scalp hair density, acne, density and extent of body hair). Gynaecomastia (> 2 cm breast tissue) was found in 40·5% (bilateral 85%, left 7·8%, right 7·2%) of the subjects. Highly statistically significant differences were found between subjects with or without gynaecomastia in their weight (79·7 ± 10·7 kg versus 69·1 ± 7·8 kg respectively; p < 0·001) and in their body hair (subjects with gynaecomastia had more dense and extensive body hair than those without; p < 0·001). When the density and extent of body hair was analysed separately for each age, it was found that subjects with gynaecomastia had completed the development of body hair earlier, since 80% of them had completed their body hair by the age of 23 years versus only 45% of those without gynaecomastia. This observation leads to the assumption that obesity and/or an earlier maturation of the subjects with gynaecomastia may play a role in the development of breast tissue, although the possibility of an increased tissue sensitivity to hormonal action cannot be excluded.
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