Estimating energy expenditure from the Minnesota Leisure Time Physical Activity and Tecumseh Occupational Activity questionnaires - A doubly labeled water validation

Joan M. Conway, Melinda L. Irwin, Barbara E. Ainsworth

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An accurate, simple method for assessing energy expenditure in individuals and in free-living populations continues to be elusive. To compare estimates of energy expenditure (EE) from a combination of two previously validated physical activity questionnaires: Tecumseh Occupational (EETEC) and a 4-wk history version of the Minnesota Leisure Time Physical Activity that included household activities (EEMNLTPA) and EE from sleep (EESLEEP), to EE obtained from doubly labeled water (EEDLW). We studied free-living males (n = 24) eating a controlled diet designed to maintain body weight and determined EE from doubly labeled water (DLW) during 14 days and EE from physical activity instruments used in epidemiological studies (EETEC and EEMNLTPA). There was excellent agreement between EEDLW (mean ± SEM, 13.55 ± 0.38 MJ/d) and EETEC + EEMNLTPA + EESLEEP (EETOTAL1) (13.79 ± 0.89 MJ/d) with a difference of only 1.0% ± 5.4%. When the EE from watching TV, reading, and childcare activities was added the total EE (EETOTAL2) (14.87 ± 0.90 MJ/D) overestimated EEDLW by 8.9% ± 5.4%. Both of these estimates of EE had significant regressions against EEDLW (EETEC + EEMNLTPA + EESLEEP, R2 = 0.38, P < 0.001; EETOTAL2, R2 = 0.39, P < 0.001). Men whose occupations involved significant intermittent moderate activity had the largest disagreement between EEDLW and estimates from the questionnaires. This investigation demonstrates that a combination of previously validated physical activity questionnaires can be used to accurately determine the mean energy expenditure of a population of employed males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-399
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 3 2002



  • Doubly labeled water
  • Energy expenditure
  • Males
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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