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Br J Nutr. 1993 Jan;69(1):21-7.

Energy balance in healthy elderly women.

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University Geriatric Medicine Group, Southampton General Hospital.


There is a paucity of data on which to base estimates of the energy requirements of the elderly. In general, ageing appears to be associated with a reduction in energy requirement arising from a reduction in physical activity and loss of fat-free mass. The aim of the present study was to measure the total energy expenditure (TEE), basal metabolic rate (BMR), and energy expended on physical activity (calculated as TEE-BMR) in a group of healthy elderly women living in the community in Southampton. Mean rates of TEE (9.21 (SD 1.48) MJ/d) and energy expended on physical activity (4.12 (SD 1.19) MJ/d) were higher than those observed in some studies of younger adults in the UK, and higher than the factors used to estimate the average energy requirement for the elderly. The results suggest that an age-related reduction in energy requirement is not inevitable and support the hypothesis that the effects of ageing on physical activity, body composition, and hence energy requirements, are variable.

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