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Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):643-9.

Habitual meal frequency in relation to resting and activity-induced energy expenditure in human subjects: the role of fat-free mass.

Author information

1
Department of Human Biology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands. M.Westerterp@HB.Unimaas.nl

Abstract

Habitual meal frequency was assessed as a possible function of components of energy expenditure (EE) in human subjects. Fifty-six subjects participated (four categories differing in body composition): ten older women (fat-free mass (FFM) 42.0 (sd 6.3) kg, aged 59 (sd 2) years, BMI 27.5 (sd 6.9) kg/m(2)), fifteen younger women (FFM 45.5 (sd 5.2) kg, aged 34 (sd 10) years, BMI 21.9 (sd 2.3) kg/m(2)), twelve older men (FFM 56.8 (sd 5.9) kg, aged 62 (sd 4) years, BMI 25.7 (sd 3.3) kg/m(2)) and nineteen younger men (FFM 63.9 (sd 7.5) kg, aged 23.1 (sd 3.9) years, BMI 22.9 (sd 1.8) kg/m(2)). Measurements consisted of habitual meal frequency by validated food-intake diaries, physical activity by tri-axial accelerometers and resting EE by a ventilated hood system. Habitual meal frequency was expressed as a function of resting EE (including resting EE as a function of FFM), and of activity-induced EE, using regression analysis. FFM differed according to gender and age categories (P<0.01). Physical activity level was higher in the younger men than in the other categories (P<0.05). No relationship of meal frequency with the variables assessed was observed in subjects with a low FFM (the women). In the subjects with a medium FFM (the older men), meal frequency was positively related to resting EE (r(2) 0.4, P<0.05), but not to the residuals of resting EE as a function of FFM, and inversely related to activity-induced EE (r(2) 0.3, P<0.05). Resting EE explained 40 % of the variation in meal frequency; adding activity-induced EE increased this to 60 %. In the subjects with a high FFM (the younger men), meal frequency was inversely related to resting EE (r(2) 0.8, P<0.0001) and to the residuals of resting EE as a function of FFM (P=0.03), and positively related to activity-induced EE (r(2) 0.6, P<0.0001). Resting EE explained 85 % of the variation in meal frequency; adding activity-induced EE increased this to 89 %. Habitual meal frequency was a function of components of EE, namely resting EE and activity-induced EE, only in subjects with a medium to high FFM (men). FFM-related differences in these relationships suggest a role of physical activity.

PMID:
13129471
DOI:
10.1079/bjn2003940
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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