Background: Previous studies investigating the hypothesis that a low resting metabolic rate (RMR) is a cause of obesity yielded discrepant findings. Two explanations for these findings are the use of imprecise methods to determine obesity and a failure to control for differences in fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) when comparing RMR values. Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that RMR is lower in obese than in nonobese boys (with the use of precise methods to quantify body fatness and with adjustment for differences in both FM and FFM). Design: Forty Chinese Singaporean boys aged 12.8-15.1 y were recruited. Boys were classified as obese (n = 20) or nonobese (n = 20) on the basis of their adiposity index (ratio of FM to FFM: >0.60 = obese, <0.40 = nonobese) determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. RMR was determined by using indirect calorimetry. RMR values were compared by using both linear (analysis of covariance) and log-linear (analysis of covariance with log-transformed data) regression to control for differences in FM and FFM. Results: Age, height, and FFM did not differ significantly between groups. Body mass was 13 kg greater and FM was 16 kg greater in the obese boys than in the nonobese boys (P < 0.001). After control for FFM and FM, RMR did not differ significantly between the groups. Conclusion: When body composition is appropriately controlled for, RMR does not differ significantly between obese and nonobese boys.
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