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Background: Metabolic factor (MF) provides a standardized metric to compare resting metabolic rate (RMR) between populations and across time. Better understanding of one’s metabolism may provide insight into the successes or failures of weight loss and weight management. Weight loss clients enjoy numbers to motivate success and continuation of positive lifestyle changes, and MF may be a useful tool to use that goes beyond the weight number on a scale. The purpose of this study was to explore the potential use of MF in clinical weight counseling by assessing MF in a variety of populations and determine if additional variables support previous MF findings.
Methods: RMR was measured via indirect calorimetry in sixty-seven adults > 18 years old including athletes, non-athletes, general young and older adults. Anthropometric measurements included BMI, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and body composition (percent body fat).
Results: Athletes had a significantly higher MF compared to non-athletes (12.2 ± 1.9 vs 10.5 ± 2.4, p = .006) and older adults had a significantly lower MF compared to younger adults (8.7 ± 1.8 vs 11.4 ± 2.2, p < .0001). Significant correlations were found between MF and BMI (r = -.387, p =.001), age (r = -.433, p < .0001), percent body fat (r = -.515, p < .0001), and physical activity (r = .420, p < .0001), while no relationship was present between MF and WHR.
Conclusion: Previous MF research demonstrating lower MF with higher BMI was consistent in newly tested populations including athletes and older adults. New data suggests lower body composition and higher physical activity are also associated with higher MF. Metabolic factor may provide valuable insights for clinical weight counseling to assist with weight management and improving body acceptance.
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