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Metabolism. 1997 Aug;46(8):884-9.

Energy requirement for long-term body weight maintenance in older women.

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Noll Physiological Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA.


The total dietary energy requirement of healthy, free-living older women was examined by determining the total energy intake (TEI) required for long-term body weight maintenance in nine women aged (mean +/- SD) 67 +/- 9 years (range, 56 to 78). For 14 weeks, each woman consumed defined amounts of foods and beverages prepared at a General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) to provide 0.8 g and a nonprotein energy ratio of 40% fat to 60% carbohydrate. Adjustments to TEI were made to keep body weight within +/-0.5 kg of each woman's starting body weight. All women were asked to maintain their habitual level of daily activity, and the energy cost of physical activity was estimated using the Yale Physical Activity Survey (YPAS). Resting energy expenditure (REE) was measured with each woman in the postabsorptive state just after awakening, using an indirect calorimeter at baseline and week 14. The energy requirement expressed as the ratio of TEI to REE was 1.82 +/- 0.15, a value 21% higher (P < .001) than the energy allowance of 1.5 x REE suggested for women beyond age 50 years in the 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). Using the RDAs equation to predict REE from body weight (pREE), the ratio of TEI to pREE was 1.73 +/- 0.18 (P < .005, comparison with 1.50 x REE). Estimates of the energy expenditure for physical activity (EEPA) based on the energy intake-balance data and the YPAS data were similar (3.18 +/- 0.92 and 3.14 +/- 1.42 MJ/d, respectively) for the group of women, but were more variable on an individual basis. Results of this long-term energy balance study suggest that the RDAs underestimate the dietary energy requirement of older women.

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