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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;53(6):434-40.

Resting metabolic rate, body composition and aerobic fitness comparisons between active and sedentary 54-71 year old males.

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Exercise Physiology Laboratory, School of Education, The Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.



To test the hypothesis that 55-70 y old male longterm exercisers (LE) have higher resting metabolic rates (RMR) than longterm nonexercisers (LNE).


A power analysis demonstrated that this cross-sectional study required 12 subjects per group to detect a 10% RMR difference (kJ x kg FFM(-1) x d(-1)) between the LE and LNE (power = 0.8;alpha = 0.05).


Twelve LE (X +/- s.d.; 63.5+/-3.4 y; 1.75+/-0.06 m; 69.01+/-8.24 kg; 20.4+/-4.9 %BF) and 12 LNE (63.6+/-5.6 y; 1.72+/-0.07 m; 79.44 12.4 kg; 29.6 4.4 %BF) were recruited from advertisements placed in a newspaper and on university and community noticeboards.


Measurements were conducted for: RMR using the Douglas bag technique; body composition via a four compartment model which is based on determination of body density, total body water and bone mineral mass; and aerobic fitness using a submaximal work test on a cycle ergometer.


The LE (93.00+/-7.16 kJ x kg(-1) x d(-1)) registered a significantly greater (P = 0.04) RMR than the LNE (84.70+/-11.23 kJ x kg(-1) x d(-1)) when energy expenditure was expressed relative to body mass, but this difference disappeared (P = 0.55) when the data were corrected for the non-zero intercept of the graph of RMR (MJ/d) against body mass. ANCOVA with FFM as the covariate also indicated that the RMR (MJ/d) difference between the groups was not statistically significant (P = 0.28). The adjusted means for the LE and LNE were 6.39 and 6.62 MJ/d, respectively.


There are no RMR (MJ/d) differences between LE and LNE 54-71 y old males when statistical control is exerted for the effect of FFM and the higher value of the former group for RMR normalised to body mass disappears when this ratio is corrected for statistical bias.

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