Adults in All Body Mass Index Categories Underestimate Daily Energy Requirements

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To compare the difference between self-reported and calculated daily energy requirements of adults within different body mass index (BMI) categories.


Adults (n = 978) self-reported daily energy requirements, demographic information, and height, weight, age, and physical activity level (PAL) to calculate total energy expenditure.


The main effects of BMI, gender, PAL, and dieting status on the difference between self-reported and calculated energy requirements for weight maintenance were significant (P < .05); age, race/ethnicity, level of education, and being in a health-related field had no effect. Individuals across all BMI categories underestimated their energy requirements, but obese individuals underestimated to the greatest degree. Males, current dieters, and those who reported a low-active or active PAL underestimated to the greatest extent in each category.

Conclusions and Implications:

There is a lack of basic nutrition knowledge about personal energy needs in individuals across all BMI categories regardless of age, race/ethnicity, level of education, or work/training in a health-related field.

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