Diet composition, energy intake, and exercise in relation to body fat in men and women

Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Sep;52(3):426-30. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/52.3.426.


This study examined the relationships among body fat, diet composition, energy intake, and exercise in adults. Male (n = 107) and female (n = 109) adults aged 18-71 y (36.6 +/- 1.0 y, means +/- SEM) were hydrostatically weighed to determine body fat (5.7-49.0% of total weight). Diet and exercise behaviors were determined by use of a questionnaire. As body fat increased, percent of energy intake derived from fat increased (p less than 0.001) whereas the percent from carbohydrate decreased (p less than 0.001). There was no relationship between energy intake and adiposity although leanness and exercise were related (p less than 0.001). When subgroups of lean and obese subjects were compared, the lean subjects derived approximately 29% of their energy from fat and 53% from carbohydrate vs 35% and 46%, respectively, for the obese subjects. No differences were found between groups for energy intake but the lean individuals exercised more often than did the obese individuals. These data suggest that diet composition may play as important a role in fat deposition as do energy intake and lack of exercise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Energy Intake*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thinness / metabolism


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins