Total daily energy expenditure in free-living older African-Americans and Caucasians

William H. Carpenter, Tekum Fonong, Michael J. Toth, Philip A. Ades, Jorge Calles-Escandon, Jeremy D. Walston, Eric T. Poehlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Low rates of daily energy expenditure, increased energy intake, or a combination of both contribute to obesity in African-Americans. We examined whether African-Americans have lower rates of free-living daily energy expenditure than Caucasians. One hundred sixty-four (>55 yr) volunteers (37 African-American women, 52 Caucasian women, 28 African-American men, and 47 Caucasian men) were characterized for total daily energy expenditure, resting metabolic rate, and physical activity energy expenditure from the doubly labeled water method and indirect calorimetry. Absolute total daily energy expenditure was lower in women than men but was not different between African-Americans and Caucasians. However, we found race and gender differences in total daily energy expenditure after controlling for differences in fat-free mass. Total daily energy expenditure was 10% lower (P < 0.01) in African-Americans compared with Caucasians due to a 5% lower resting metabolic rate (P < 0.01) and 19% lower physical activity energy expenditure (P = 0.08). Moreover, total daily energy expenditure was 16% lower (P < 0.01) in women compared with men due to a 6% lower resting metabolic rate (P = 0.09) and a 37% lower physical activity energy expenditure (P = 0.06). Low rates of energy expenditure may be a predisposing factor for obesity, particularly in African-American women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E96-E101
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1 37-1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Activity
  • Aging
  • Metabolic rate
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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