A new device for measuring resting energy expenditure (REE) in healthy subjects

Author(s): Malavolti M, Pietrobelli A, Dugoni M, Poli M, Romagnoli E, et al.


Background and aim: Lifestyle change targeted towards increasing daily resting energy expenditure (REE) is one of the cornerstones of obesity treatment. Measurements of energy expenditure and substrate utilization are essential to understanding the metabolic basis of obesity, and the physiological responses to perturbations in habitual food intake. REE is the largest part of human energy expenditure (60-70%) and an increase or decrease in REE would have a large impact on total energy. Accurate and easy-to-use methods for measuring REE are needed, to be applied by clinicians in daily clinical settings to assess the validity of a new instrument to estimate REE in normal weight, healthy adults.

Methods: Ninety-nine subjects (52 females and 47 males) (mean+/-SD, age 38+/-14 years; body mass index (BMI) 23+/-3 kg/m(2)) were tested. REE was assessed using a Sensor Medics Vmax metabolic cart with a ventilated canopy and with the SenseWear armband. Body composition, percentage fat mass (%FM) and percentage fat free mass (%FFM) were assessed by skinfold thickness measurements (SF), bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA) and air displacement plethysmography (BOD-POD).

Results: No significant difference was found among measurements of FFM using the three different techniques. Both SenseWear and Sensor Medics Vmax showed a high correlation, r=0.42 and r=0.40 (p<0.0001) respectively, with BMI. No significant difference was found in mean REE between SenseWear (1540+/-280 kcal/day) and Sensor Medics Vmax (1700+/-330 kcal/day) (p=ns) and the correlation between REE measured by SenseWear and Sensor Medics Vmax was high (r=0.86, p<0.0001). Bland-Altman plot showed no difference in REE determination between SenseWear and Sensor Medics Vmax. %FFM determined by BOD-POD correlated with SenseWear (r=0.42, p<0.0001) as well as Sensor Medics Vmax (r=0.38, p<0.001).

Conclusion: SF, BIA and BOD-POD provide valid and reliable measurements of FFM. Our results suggest that the SenseWear armband is an acceptable device to accurately measure REE in healthy subjects. Its characteristics have the potential to reduce measurement times and make the SenseWear armband useful for epidemiological studies.

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