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Descriptive epidemiology of energy expenditure in the UK: Findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008 to 2015

By Soren Brage, Timothy Lindsay, Michelle Venables, Katrien Wijndaele, Kate Westgate, David Collins, Les Bluck, Nicholas J. Wareham, Polly Page

Posted 08 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/542613

Background: Little is known about population levels of energy expenditure as national surveillance systems typically employ only crude measures. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) in the UK measures energy expenditure in a 10% subsample by gold-standard doubly-labelled water (DLW). Methods: DLW-subsample participants from the NDNS (383 males, 387 females) aged 4-91yrs were recruited between 2008 and 2015. Height and weight were measured, and bodyfat percentage was estimated by deuterium dilution. Results: Absolute Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) increases steadily throughout childhood, ranging from 6.3 and 7.2 MJ/day in 4-7yr-old to 9.9 and 11.8 MJ/day for 14-16yr-old girls and boys, respectively. TEE peaked in 17-27yr-old women (10.9 MJ/day) and 28-43yr-old men (14.4 MJ/day), before decreasing gradually in old age. Physical Acitivty Energy Expenditure (PAEE) declines steadily with age from childhood (87.7 kJ/day/kg in 4-7yr olds) through to old age (38.9 kJ/day/kg in 71-91yr olds). Bodyfat percentage was strongly inversely associated with PAEE throughout life, irrespective of expressing PAEE relative to bodymass or fat-free mass. Compared to females with <30% bodyfat, females >40% recorded 28 kJ/day/kg and 17 kJ/day/kg fat-free mass less PAEE in analyses adjusted for age, geographical region, and time of assessment. Similarly, compared to males with <25% bodyfat, males >35% recorded 26 kJ/day/kg and 10 kJ/day/kg fat-free mass less PAEE. Conclusions: This first nationally representative study reports levels of human energy expenditure as measured by gold-standard methodology; values may serve as reference for other population studies. Age, sex and body composition are main biological determinants of energy expenditure.

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