Functional status and emotional well-being, dietary intake, and physical activity of severely obese subjects

Maria Matthews Richards, Ted D. Adams, Steven C. Hunt

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Analyze functional status and emotional well-being, energy and nutrient intake, and physical activity in sibling pairs raised together in the same family. Design: One sibling classified as severely obese (body mass index≥35) and the other sibling as normal weight (body mass index≤27). Subjects: From January 1994 through December 1996 at the Cardiovascular Genetics Research Clinic of the University of Utah School of Medicine, 145 sibling pairs (n=290) were selected from a population-based, family history database or a hospital-based, very-low-energy weight-loss program. Statistical analysis performed: Repeated-measures analysis of variance tested for differences between severely obese and normal-weight siblings. Results: All functional status and emotional well-being scores (poorer perceived health) were significantly lower in severely obese siblings compared with normal-weight siblings. The severely obese siblings had a higher percentage dietary fat intake (3% higher) and total energy intake (more than 350 kcal higher), and lower weight-adjusted total energy intake (almost 10 kcal/kg lower) and activity energy expenditure (3.5 kcal/kg lower), compared with normal-weight siblings. Thus, environmental influences such as energy and nutrient intake and physical activity are highly related to severe obesity. Applications: Previously shared environment of severely obese and normal-weight siblings raises questions about whether strong environmental influences or genetic predisposition account for the differences in sibling weight. When counseling individuals or families with a history of severe obesity, dietetics practitioners should be familiar with the potential for strong genetic factors and related environmental influences. In addition, dietitians should be prepared to offer a flexible approach to physical exercise as well as provide additional behavioral support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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