Research Study Abstract

Total energy expenditure assessed by doubly labeled water technique and estimates of physical activity in Mauritian children: analysis by gender and ethnicity

  • Published on July 29, 2019

In the tropical island of Mauritius, the rise in obesity has accelerated in the past decades, and could be contributed by low physical activity and increased sedentary behavior. The study objectives were to generate the first dataset of total energy expenditure (TEE), to estimate physical activity in Mauritian children, and to explore differences due to gender and ethnicity.

The doubly labeled water (DLW) technique was used to evaluate TEE over 14 days in 56 Mauritian school children (aged 7–11 years) belonging to the two main ethnic groups: Indian (South Asian descent) and Creole (African/Malagasy descent). Physical activity level (PAL) was calculated as the ratio of TEE and resting energy expenditure (using Schofield equations), and daily step counts were measured by accelerometry. Anthropometry and body composition were also assessed.

TEE measured by DLW was lower in Mauritian children (by ~155 kcal/d) than that predicted using FAO/WHO/UNU equations for children of the same sex, age, and body size. Furthermore, TEE, as well as PAL and step counts, also differed according to gender (lower in girls than in boys) and to ethnicity (lower in Indians than in Creoles) even after adjusting for differences in body weight and body composition.

These results in Mauritian children provide the first dataset of objectively measured TEE, from which physical activity is estimated as PAL, and complemented by step counts measurements. They suggest potential gender and ethnic differences in TEE and physical activity that need consideration in developing strategies to counter sedentary behavior and obesity.


  • Harris Ramuth 1,2
  • Yves Schutz 2
  • Julie Calonne 2
  • Noorjehan Joonas 1
  • Abdul G. Dulloo 2


  • 1

    Victoria Hospital, Central Health Laboratory, Ministry of Health & Quality of Life, Port Louis, Mauritius

  • 2

    Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Cardiovascular system, Faculty of Science & Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland


European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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