University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Accuracy of Dietary Reference Intakes for determining energy requirements in girls

UMMS Affiliation

Shriver Center; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



*Basal Metabolism; Calorimetry, Indirect; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Diet; *Energy Intake; *Energy Metabolism; Female; Humans; Menarche; Motor Activity; Nutritional Requirements; Reference Standards; Reproducibility of Results; Sex Factors


Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Nutrition | Nutritional Epidemiology


BACKGROUND: The most recent Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) (2002) for energy were based on pooled data from convenience samples of individuals with energy expenditure determined by using doubly labeled water (DLW). To our knowledge, the accuracy of these intake estimates has not been assessed in children.

OBJECTIVE: We assessed the accuracy of DRI prediction equations for determining daily energy needs in girls by comparing the individual-level prediction of estimated energy requirements with the measured value of total energy expenditure (TEE) from DLW, which is considered the gold standard.

DESIGN: In this cross-sectional analysis, we measured the resting metabolic rate (RMR) by using indirect calorimetry and TEE by using DLW in 161 nonobese premenarcheal girls aged 8-12 y. The activity factor TEE/RMR was used to categorize the physical activity level used in DRI equations.

RESULTS: We observed a strong linear relation between TEE by using DLW and estimated energy requirements predicted from DRI equations (Pearson's r = 0.78, P < 0.0001, R(2) = 0. 61). The DRI-predicted energy requirements underestimated measured TEE by ~120 kcal on average. The overall mean (+/-SD) error in the sample was -121.3 +/- 163.9 kcal. The average (+/-SD) percentage error in the sample was -5.8 +/- 7.9%. Seventy percent of participants had predicted TEE values < /=10% of measured TEE.

CONCLUSIONS: DRI equations for girls predict well for the group. The use of these equations for individuals may result in the underestimation of energy requirements for a significant percentage of girls.

DOI of Published Version



Bandini LG, Lividini K, Phillips SM, Must A. Accuracy of Dietary Reference Intakes for determining energy requirements in girls. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Sep;98(3):700-4. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.052233. Epub 2013 Jul 24. PubMed PMID: 23885044; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3743732. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of clinical nutrition

PubMed ID