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Resting energy expenditure and carbohydrate oxidation are higher in elderly patients with COPD: a case control study

Bruna Rubi Ramires1, Erick Prado de Oliveira236*, Gustavo Duarte Pimentel4, Kátia Cristina Portero McLellan3, Darlan Muller Nakato5, Márcia Maria Faganello5, Maurício Longo Galhardo5 and Luciene de Souza Venâncio1

Author affiliations

1 Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba (UNIMEP), Lins, SP, Brazil

2 Department of Pathology, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Botucatu, SP, Brazil

3 Department of Public Health, Centre for Physical and Nutritional Metabolism (CeMENutri), São Paulo State University (UNESP), Botucatu, SP, Brazil

4 Department of Internal Medicine, Campinas State University (UNICAMP), Campinas, SP, Brazil

5 Department of Physiotherapy, Centro Universitário Católico Salesiano Auxilium-Unisalesiano, Lins, SP, Brazil

6 CeMENutri - Faculdade de Medicina, Depto. de Saúde Pública (FMB - UNESP), Distrito de Rubião Jr, s/n°, 18.618-970, Botucatu, SP, Brazil

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:37  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-37

Published: 6 June 2012



Elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) usually have a compromised nutritional status which is an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality. To know the Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) and the substrate oxidation measurement is essential to prevent these complications. This study aimed to compare the REE, respiratory quotient (RQ) and body composition between patients with and without COPD.


This case–control study assessed 20 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease attending a pulmonary rehabilitation program. The group of subjects without COPD (control group) consisted of 20 elderly patients attending a university gym, patients of a private service and a public healthy care. Consumption of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) was determined by indirect calorimetry and used for calculating the resting energy expenditure and respiratory quotient. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were also measured. Percentage of body fat (%BF), lean mass (kg) and muscle mass (kg) were determined by bioimpedance. The fat free mass index (FFMI) and muscle mass index (MMI) were then calculated.


The COPD group had lower BMI than control (p = 0.02). However, WC, % BF, FFMI and MM-I did not differ between the groups. The COPD group had greater RQ (p = 0.01), REE (p = 0.009) and carbohydrate oxidation (p = 0.002).


Elderly patients with COPD had higher REE, RQ and carbohydrate oxidation than controls.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Resting energy expenditure; Elderly; Carbohydrate oxidation