Introduction: Resting energy expenditure (REE) is expected to be higher in athletes because of their relatively high fat free mass (FFM). Therefore, REE predictive equation for recreational athletes may be required. The aim of this study was to validate existing REE predictive equations and to develop a new recreational athlete specific equation.
Methods: 90 (53 M, 37 F) adult athletes, exercising on average 9.1 ± 5.0 hours a week and 5.0 ± 1.8 times a week, were included. REE was measured using indirect calorimetry (Vmax Encore n29), FFM and FM were measured using air displacement plethysmography. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to develop a new FFM-based and weight-based REE predictive equation. The percentage accurate predictions (within 10% of measured REE), percentage bias, root mean square error and limits of agreement were calculated. Results: The Cunningham equation and the new weight-based equation REE(kJ / d) = 49.940* weight(kg) + 2459.053* height(m) - 34.014* age(y) + 799.257* sex(M = 1,F = 0) + 122.502 and the new FFM-based equation REE(kJ / d) = 95.272*FFM(kg) + 2026.161 performed equally well. De Lorenzo's equation predicted REE less accurate, but better than the other generally used REE predictive equations. Harris-Benedict, WHO, Schofield, Mifflin and Owen all showed less than 50% accuracy.
Conclusion: For a population of (Dutch) recreational athletes, the REE can accurately be predicted with the existing Cunningham equation. Since body composition measurement is not always possible, and other generally used equations fail, the new weight-based equation is advised for use in sports nutrition.