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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;64(10):1093-100. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.128. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

Predictors of physical activity energy expenditure in Afro-Caribbean children.

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  • 1Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, West Indies.



We hypothesized that maternal size during pregnancy and birth size are determinants of childhood physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE). Also, childhood PAEE is inversely related to adiposity and levels of cardiovascular risk factors.


The Vulnerable Windows Cohort Study is a longitudinal observational study of 569 Afro-Jamaican mothers recruited from the first trimester and their offspring. Anthropometry, bioelectrical impedance, PAEE (using the Actical monitor) and cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin and lipids) were measured in 124 boys and 160 girls at a mean age of 13.2 years.


Boys had more fat-free mass (FFM) and expended more energy than girls (12.3±3.3 vs 9.6±2.8 kcal/kg/day; P<0.001). Maternal weight was associated with child's PAEE (r=0.29; P<0.001). PAEE was not significantly associated with birth weight. Maternal weight, after adjusting for child's age and sex, was positively associated with the child's FFM, fat mass and %fat (P-values 0.01). Age- and sex-adjusted PAEE was positively associated with FFM, fat mass and % fat (P-values <0.001), but not after adjusting for current weight. Age- and sex-adjusted PAEE was positively associated with triglycerides, insulin and systolic blood pressure (P-values <0.05), but not after adjusting for weight and height. PAEE was associated with fasting glucose after controlling for age, sex, weight and height (r=-0.12; P=0.02).


Maternal size, but not birth weight, is a determinant of childhood PAEE. PAEE is not strongly associated with childhood body composition, but is inversely related to fasting glucose concentration.

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