Daily energy expenditure through the human life course

International Atomic Energy Agency Doubly Labeled Water database group, Carlijn V.C. Bouten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

218 Citations (Scopus)
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Total daily energy expenditure ("total expenditure") reflects daily energy needs and is a critical variable in human health and physiology, but its trajectory over the life course is poorly studied. We analyzed a large, diverse database of total expenditure measured by the doubly labeled water method for males and females aged 8 days to 95 years. Total expenditure increased with fat-free mass in a power-law manner, with four distinct life stages. Fat-free mass-adjusted expenditure accelerates rapidly in neonates to ~50% above adult values at ~1 year; declines slowly to adult levels by ~20 years; remains stable in adulthood (20 to 60 years), even during pregnancy; then declines in older adults. These changes shed light on human development and aging and should help shape nutrition and health strategies across the life span.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabe5017
Pages (from-to)808-812
Number of pages5
Issue number6556
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2021


FundersFunder number
Taiyo Nippon Sanso
National Science FoundationBCS-1824466
National Institute on AgingR01AG029914, U01AG020478, U01AG022132, R56AG067200, U01AG020480
National Cancer InstituteR01CA119171
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesR01DK080763, R01DK085163, P30DK072476, R01DK074387, R01DK080760, R01DK056781, K23DK068052, R01DK030031
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin DiseasesU01AR071160
National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentZIAHD000641
National Center for Research ResourcesS10RR026764
International Atomic Energy Agency


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