The number of lean young women has been increasing. Fear of being fat may induce unnecessary attempts to reduce body weight, which can cause several types of illness. Many investigations have demonstrated dysfunction of the hypothalamus and metabolic differences in patients with anorexia nervosa. However, it is unclear whether there are any differences in physical characteristics between women with lower body weight and no illness compared to those of normal body weight. In this study, we investigated the differences in body composition, biochemical parameters, and resting energy expenditure (REE) between young women with low and normal body mass index (BMI). Twenty lean women (BMI<18.5 kg/m2) and 20 normal women (18.5<BMI≤25 kg/m2) were recruited for this study. Body composition, biochemical parameters, and REE (REEm: measurement of REE) were measured, and the REE (REEe: estimation of REE) was estimated by using a prediction model. Marked differences were found in body composition. All of the values of blood analysis were in the normal ranges in both groups. REEm (kcal/d and kcal/kg BW/d) was significantly lower in lean than in normal women, but there were no significant differences in the REEm to fat free mass (FFM) ratio between the two groups. In addition, there was good agreement between REEm and REEe obtained from the specific metabolic rates of four tissue organs. These data indicate that the lean women without any illness have normal values of biochemical parameters and energy metabolism compared to women with normal BMI.
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