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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Mar;22(3):236-42.

Differences in resting energy expenditure in African-American vs Caucasian overweight females.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine differences in both resting energy expenditure (REE) and respiratory quotient (RQ) between overweight African-American and Caucasian women of comparable age and body mass index (BMI).




REE was assessed in 41 women (22 African-American and 19 Caucasian) who were recruited to participate in this study. The African-American women were aged 36.4+/-5.7 y with a BMI of 32.6+/-5.4 kg/m2, and the Caucasian women were aged 35.4+/-5.7 y with a BMI of 31.3+/-3.4 kg/m2.


Body composition was assessed using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). REE was assessed via the dilution technique following an overnight fast.


REE was lower in African-Americans (7279+/-825 kJ/d) compared to Caucasians (7807+/-854 kJ/d) (P = 0.051). Analysis of covariance showed that REE remained significantly lower in African-American women after correcting for body weight and lean body mass. There was no effect of ethnicity on RQ.


These results indicate that there is a significant difference in REE between Caucasian and African-American overweight women. This difference in REE may contribute to the higher rates of obesity found in the African-American population. This difference may also partially explain the smaller weight losses typically seen in African-American women when compared to Caucasian women enrolled in a weight loss program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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