Misreporting of Energy Intake in the Elderly Using Doubly Labeled Water to Measure Total Energy Expenditure and Weight Change

for the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Scopus citations


    Background: One of the major problems in dietary assessment is inaccuracy in reporting diet. Objective: To examine the association between self-reported energy intake (EI) by food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and energy expenditure (EE), measured by doubly labeled water (DLW), among older persons. Design: EE was assessed in 298 high-functioning, community-dwelling older adults (70–79 years of age) over a 2-week period using DLW. Dietary intake was assessed using a Block FFQ. The ratio between reported EI and total energy expenditure (TEE) was calculated. Misreporting was defined as follows: participants with an EI/TEE ratio of <0.77 were categorized as low energy reporters, while participants with an EI/TEE ratio >1.28 were categorized as high energy reporters. Participants with an EI/TEE ratio of 0.77–1.28 were categorized as “true” energy reporters. One-year percent weight change prior to EE visit was used as another validation indicator. Participants who were low energy reporters but lost >2% of their body weight were categorized as undereaters. Results: Two hundred ninety-six participants provided both FFQ and DLW measurements. Forty-three percent of participants were low energy reporters; among them, almost 30% lost weight and, therefore, were categorized as undereaters. The undereaters consumed significantly fewer calories. No difference in the frequency of low energy reporting was detected between genders or racial groups. Underreporters had significantly higher body weight than “true” or high reporters. Undereaters tended to have higher body mass index than the underreporters. Conclusions: Undereating is prevalent in the elderly and may be falsely perceived as underreporting. It should be further addressed and characterized in future studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14-24
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Feb 2010


    • Dietary intake
    • Doubly labeled water
    • Misreporting
    • True energy reporters
    • Undereating


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