Objective Given sufficient evidence regarding the role of gender on variation of RMR in adult and school children, few data are available about the gender effect on RMR in pre-school children. The present study attempted to investigate gender differences contribute to variations in RMR.
Methods Information was obtained for thirty children aged 2–6 years. Measurements were taken of height, age, weight and total body composition which was determined using both DXA and deuterium dilution. The DXA was also used to determine body composition in different regions of the body. RMR was measured by indirect calorimetry.
Results No significant gender differences were found with respect to age (F = 0, P = 0.998), weight (F = 0.02, P = 0.884), height (F = 0.33, P = 0.570), and BMI SDS (F = 0.51, P = 0.480). In addition, no significant difference was found between boys and girls for total fat free mass (FFM) (F = 1.30, P = 0.265) and log Fat Mass (FM) (F = 1.2, P = 0.228) measured by DXA, and total FFM (F = 0.79, P = 0.38) and log FM (F = 0.70, P = 0.41) obtained with deuterium after correction for age effect. This study demonstrated that there is no significant difference between pre-school boys and girls for RMR (F = 0.16, P = 0.690). In a multiple regression analysis, only log weight was significantly associated to RMR, variation of which amounted to 75.3%.
Conclusions We found that no significant differences in body composition between pre-school boys and girls may lie behind the lack of gender effect on RMR in this age group.