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Overweight in young children and adults: quantifying the gap between energy intake and energy expenditure

Overgewicht bij jonge kinderen en volwassenen: kwantificeren van de kloof tussen energie-inneming en energieverbruik

Synopsis

For the first time in the Netherlands the gap between energy intake and energy expenditure has been quantified for children and adults. Small daily changes in energy balance may, in the long term, make the difference between becoming overweight or not. Ten per cent of two-year olds either develop overweight by the age of six or carry their overweight up to this age. An excess energy intake of 75 kcal per day relative to energy expenditure has been found responsible for this overweight in 90% of these children. This corresponds for example to a 150-ml glass of lemonade a day. A slightly smaller surplus to the energy balance of 60 kcal per day has been found responsible for the weight gain observed in young adults (20-30 year-olds) over 11 years. This so-called "energy gap" is even smaller for other age groups (31-50 year-olds). It was calculated from the weight gain observed among children of the PIAMA study and adults (20-59) from the Doetinchem study. Strikingly, almost two-thirds of the overweight two-year olds had a normal weight at age 6. Their mothers' educational level was more often higher than that of mothers of children who remained overweight (47% versus 29%). At baseline, adults with a low socio-economic status (SES) had a higher body mass index (BMI) than the total group. However, they gained weight at a similar rate as the total group. Therefore differences in BMI between SES groups probably develop before the age of 20.
 

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