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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;84(1):230-6.

Comparison of energy expenditure estimates from 4 physical activity questionnaires with doubly labeled water estimates in postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Physical activity energy expenditure (EE) is an important determinant of health, and epidemiologists have used various methods, such as physical activity and energy intake recalls and records, to estimate energy cost. However, most epidemiologic studies have not validated these methods against the doubly labeled water (DLW) technique for measuring EE.


The aim was to compare EE estimated by 4 physical activity questionnaires with that obtained with the DLW technique in free-living postmenopausal women.


We measured EE in kcal/d using the DLW method, the Harvard Alumni questionnaire, the Five City Project questionnaire, the Cross-Cultural Activity Participation Study (CAPS) Four Week Activity Recall, and the CAPS Typical Week Activity Survey in 65 healthy postmenopausal women.


Compared with DLW, the Harvard Alumni questionnaire, the Five City Project questionnaire, and the CAPS Four Week Activity Recall overestimated (P < 0.05) daily EE by 62%, 16%, and 11%, respectively, whereas the CAPS Typical Week Activity Recall underestimated (P < 0.05) EE by 31%. Both the Harvard Alumni and Five City Project questionnaires overestimated EE in obese and overweight women.


When using 3 of the 4 questionnaire methods, postmenopausal women overestimated EEs. Of all women, obese women overestimated daily EE the most.

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