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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 May;81(5):1102-9.

Longitudinal changes in energy expenditure in girls from late childhood through midadolescence.

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General Clinical Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.



Longitudinal data on energy expenditure in children and adolescents are scarce.


The purpose of this study was to examine changes in energy expenditure and physical activity in girls from late childhood through midadolescence.


We measured total energy expenditure (TEE) by doubly labeled water, resting metabolic rate (RMR) by indirect calorimetry, body composition by 18O dilution, and time spent in activity by an activity diary in 28 initially nonobese girls at approximately 10, approximately 12, and approximately 15 y of age. Changes with age in TEE, RMR, and activity energy expenditure (AEE), both in absolute terms and in adjusted analyses, and in physical activity level (PAL) and time spent sleeping, being sedentary, and in moderate and vigorous activity were evaluated by mixed-model repeated-measures analyses.


Absolute TEE and AEE increased significantly from age 10 to age 15 y (P < 0.0001 for both). Absolute RMR at ages 12 and 15 y did not differ significantly, despite significant increases in fat-free mass and fat mass between the visits. PAL was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) at age 15 y than at age 10 or 12 y, whereas time spent being sedentary increased significantly from age 10 to age 15 y (P < 0.001), and AEE adjusted for fat-free mass appeared to decrease over the same interval.


Conclusions drawn regarding changes with age in physical activity depend on the measure of physical activity assessed.

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