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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 May;83(5):1529-34.

Energy requirements and physical activity of older free-living African-Americans: a doubly labeled water study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA.


We examined daily energy requirements and determinants of physical activity in older, free-living African-American women (n = 37; age, 64 +/- 8 yr) and men (n = 28; age, 64 +/- 7 yr). Total daily energy expenditure and its components [i.e. resting metabolic rate (RMR) and physical activity energy expenditure] were determined using doubly labeled water and indirect calorimetry. Body composition from dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, maximal oxygen consumption from a graded treadmill test, and leisure time physical activity from a structured interview were determined. Total daily energy expenditure adjusted for body composition was lower (P < 0.05) for women (2198 +/- 621 kcal/d) than for men (2633 +/- 669 kcal/d) due to a lower RMR (1431 +/- 240 vs. 1576 +/- 259 kcal/d; P = 0.07) and physical activity energy expenditure (548 +/- 559 vs. 794 +/- 603 kcal/d; P = 0.19), respectively. The physical activity level ratio (i.e. total daily energy expenditure/RMR) was not different from Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization/United Nations University recommendations (i.e. 1.51) for women (1.51 +/- 0.25), but was higher for men (1.71 +/- 0.32). The strongest correlates with physical activity energy expenditure were age for women (r = -0.44; P < 0.01) and maximal oxygen consumption for men (r = 0.39; P < 0.05). These data show that daily energy requirements are significantly lower in African-American women compared to men, primarily due to lower levels of physical activity energy expenditure. Furthermore, lower levels of cardiovascular fitness in men and advancing age in women are associated with lower physical activity energy expenditure.

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