Energy recommendations for normal weight, overweight and obese children and adolescents: are different equations necessary?

Authors


RM Hanning, Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1. E-mail: rhanning@healthy.uwaterloo.ca

Summary

In 2002/2005, separate energy requirement equations were generated by the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Dietary Reference Intake process for normal weight and overweight/obese children and adolescents. The current paper questions the theoretical rationale of having two sets of equations (based solely on body-weight classification): when body weight is considered, overweight and obese children and adolescents do not seem to differ from their normal weight counterparts in energy expended for basal metabolism or physical activity tasks. However, energy needs for weight maintenance among overweight/obese girls were consistently higher when predicted using the equations for overweight/obese individuals compared with those developed for normal weight individuals. In contrast, among overweight/obese boys, they were consistently lower. Although the differences are within the variability of the estimates, even theoretical support for a higher energy intake (as occurs in girls) seems unwise because of the potential contribution to a higher body mass in children who are already at risk. It is the opinion of the authors that the IOM revisit the use of two separate equations and generate one set that is appropriate for all children and adolescents.

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