Poor prediction of resting energy expenditure in obese women by established equations

Britta Wilms, Sebastian M. Schmid, Barbara Ernst, Martin Thurnheer, Manfred J. Mueller, Bernd Schultes*

*Corresponding author for this work
15 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the study was to evaluate the accuracy of established prediction equations that calculate resting energy expenditure (REE) in obese women. This was a cross-sectional study. In 273 mildly to severely obese women (age, 41.7 ± 13.2 years; body mass index, 42.8 ± 7.0 kg/m 2), REE was measured by indirect calorimetry (mREE), along with fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Eleven established equations were used to predict REE (pREE), with 9 equations basing on the anthropometric parameters body weight and height and 2 equations including body composition parameters (FM, FFM). All equations provided pREE values that significantly correlated with mREE (r > 0.66, P < .001), although 8 equations systematically underestimated mREE (P < .05). Of note, even the best equation was not able to accurately predict mREE with a deviation of less than ±10% in more than 70% of the tested women. Furthermore, equations using body composition data were not superior in predicting REE as compared with equations exclusively including anthropometric variables. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed 2 new equations-one including body weight and age and another including FM, FFM, and age-that explained 56.9% and 57.2%, respectively, of variance in mREE. However, when these 2 new equations were applied to an independent sample of 33 obese women, they also provided an accurate prediction (±10%) of mREE in only 56.7% and 60.6%, respectively, of the women. Data show that an accurate prediction of REE is not feasible using established equations in obese women. Equations that include body composition parameters as assessed by bioelectrical impedance analysis do not increase the accuracy of prediction. Based on our results, we conclude that calculating REE by standard prediction equations does not represent a reliable alternative to indirect calorimetry for the assessment of REE in obese women.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1181-1189
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2010


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