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Pediatr Res. 1998 May;43(5):607-13.

Daily energy expenditure and physical activity in survivors of childhood malignancy.

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Department of Child Health, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK.


Changes in body composition, in particular the onset of obesity, may result from reductions in total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) as a consequence of relative physical inactivity. Children previously treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) become obese, yet the mechanism remains undefined. TDEE and physical activity levels [PAL = TDEE/basal metabolic rate (BMR)] were measured in 34 long-term survivors of ALL and compared with results from 21 survivors of other malignancies and 32 healthy sibling control subjects using the flex-heart rate technique. Body composition was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. The median TDEE was reduced in the ALL group (150 kJ x kg d(-1)) compared with other malignancies and controls (207 and 185 kJ x kg d(-1), respectively, p < 0.01). This reduction was accounted for mainly by a relative decrease in the PAL of the ALL group (1.24) compared with both other malignancies and controls (1.58 and 1.47, respectively, p < 0.01). TDEE and PAL were correlated with percentage body fat (r = -0.39, p < 0.001 and r = -0.24, p < 0.05, respectively). Obesity in survivors of ALL may, in part, be explained by a reduction in TDEE as a consequence of reduced PAL. The cause of such reduction is uncertain.

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