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Human basal metabolic rate has declined over the past 30 years

Obesity is caused by a mismatch between energy intake and expenditure. How much reduced expenditure (which is assumed to result from reduced activity) or elevated food intake contribute to obesity is debated. We show that total energy expenditure has been falling owing to a reduction in basal metabolic rate and not in activity expenditure.

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Fig. 1: Trend in TEE over time.


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This is a summary of: Speakman, J. R. et al. Total daily energy expenditure has declined over the past three decades due to declining basal expenditure, not reduced activity expenditure. Nat. Metab. (2023).

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Human basal metabolic rate has declined over the past 30 years. Nat Metab 5, 544–545 (2023).

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