High energy expenditure is not protective against increased adiposity in children

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Low levels of energy expenditure (TEE) may contribute to excess weight during childhood, but limited longitudinal data exist.


This is to test whether low TEE during the first 6 years of life could predict excess weight status at 8 years.


Total energy expenditure from doubly labelled water, weight, stature, waist circumference and fat mass and fat-free mass (FFM) in children at 0.25, 2, 4 and 6 years of age. This cohort includes individuals at high (n = 27) and low risk (n = 26) for childhood obesity, based upon whether pre-pregnant maternal obesity. A linear mixed effects model was fit to TEE. Individual variation was accounted for as a random effect. Residual TEE was calculated for age and individually averaged across time.


Fat-free mass (kg) was highly correlated (R2 = 0.91) with TEE (kcal/day), and waist circumference and sex were also significant predictors of TEE. TEE residual tracked within individuals. TEE residuals did not correlate with either BMI or %fat at age 8 years.


Using the residual TEE approach to identify high and low TEE during the first 6 years of life did not explain excess weight at 8 years of life in this cohort of children at high and low risk of obesity based upon maternal obesity status.

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