Total daily energy expenditure has declined over the past three decades due to declining basal expenditure, not reduced activity expenditure.
Nature metabolism 2023 ; 5: 579-588.
Speakman JR, de Jong JMA, Sinha S, Westerterp KR, Yamada Y, Sagayama H, Ainslie PN, Anderson LJ, Arab L, Bedu-Addo K, Blanc S, Bonomi AG, Bovet P, Brage S, Buchowski MS, Butte NF, Camps SGJA, Cooper JA, Cooper R, Das SK, Davies PSW, Dugas LR, Ekelund U, Entringer S, Forrester T, Fudge BW, Gillingham M, Ghosh S, Goris AH, Gurven M, Halsey LG, Hambly C, Haisma HH, Hoffman D, Hu S, Joosen AM, Kaplan JL, Katzmarzyk P, Kraus WE, Kushner RF, Leonard WR, Löf M, Martin CK, Matsiko E, Medin AC, Meijer EP, Neuhouser ML, Nicklas TA, Ojiambo RM, Pietiläinen KH, Plange-Rhule J, Plasqui G, Prentice RL, Racette SB, Raichlen DA, Ravussin E, Redman LM, Roberts SB, Rudolph MC, Sardinha LB, Schuit AJ, Silva AM, Stice E, Urlacher SS, Valenti G, Van Etten LM, Van Mil EA, Wood BM, Yanovski JA, Yoshida T, Zhang X, Murphy-Alford AJ, Loechl CU, Kurpad A, Luke AH, Pontzer H, Rodeheffer MS, Rood J, Schoeller DA, Wong WW
PubMed ID : 37100994
Obesity is caused by a prolonged positive energy balance. Whether reduced energy expenditure stemming from reduced activity levels contributes is debated. Here we show that in both sexes, total energy expenditure (TEE) adjusted for body composition and age declined since the late 1980s, while adjusted activity energy expenditure increased over time. We use the International Atomic Energy Agency Doubly Labelled Water database on energy expenditure of adults in the United States and Europe (n = 4,799) to explore patterns in total (TEE: n = 4,799), basal (BEE: n = 1,432) and physical activity energy expenditure (n = 1,432) over time. In males, adjusted BEE decreased significantly, but in females this did not reach significance. A larger dataset of basal metabolic rate (equivalent to BEE) measurements of 9,912 adults across 163 studies spanning 100 years replicates the decline in BEE in both sexes. We conclude that increasing obesity in the United States/Europe has probably not been fuelled by reduced physical activity leading to lowered TEE. We identify here a decline in adjusted BEE as a previously unrecognized factor.