Reported energy intake versus estimated energy requirements of Portuguese adolescents and young adults

Main Article Content

José Maria Tallon
Janine Narciso
Raquel Saavedra
Ana Barros
António José Silva
Aldo Matos Costa

Keywords

energy intake, energy requirements, adolescents, Body Mass Index

Abstract

Introduction/objective: Predictive equations are commonly used to estimate basal metabolic rate/resting metabolic rate and determine energy requirements, with the Harris-Benedict equation being amongst the most study equations. However, if this formula effectively addresses basal metabolic rate/resting metabolic rate in individuals living in contemporary societies is still unclear. In the present study we compared the energy intake of Portuguese adolescents/young adults with their energy requirements by gender, age and Body Mass Index category. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that included 287 participants from the 9th to the 12th grade, that recorded their food intake for at least 3 days in an online platform and had complete anthropometric data. The Harris-Benedict equations were used to estimate the energy requirements of adolescents/young adults. Results: Overall energy intake of adolescents/young adults was significantly lower than their requirements (1898.6 kcal versus 2047.1 kcal, p<0.001; Cohen’s d= -0.42). The same was observed for both genders, with girls having a reported energy intake (REI) of 1847.9 kcal and estimated energy requirements (EER) of 1912.5 kcal (p=0.011; Cohen’s d= -0.18); and boys a REI of 2002.6 kcal and an EER of 2323.5 kcal (p<0.001; Cohen’s d= -1.09). Additionally, REI was significantly lower than EER for adolescents (1896.4 kcal versus 2052.9 kcal, p <0.001; Cohen’s d= -0.45), normal weight (1896.8  kcal versus 2014.3 kcal, p <0.001; Cohen’s d= -0.33), overweight (1912.5 kcal versus 2214.1 kcal, p<0.001; Cohen’s d= -1.03) and obese adolescents/young adults (1964.1 kcal versus 2362.2 kcal, p<0.001; Cohen’s d= -2.14). Conclusion: The energy intake of adolescents/young adults was significantly lower than their requirements for both genders, adolescents, normal weight, overweight and obese individuals (p<0.05).

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