(HealthDay News) – Because of lower energy requirements, black women lose fewer pounds than white women even if they follow the same dietary restrictions and exercise regimens, according to research published online Dec. 20 in the International Journal of Obesity.

James P. DeLany, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Montefiore, and colleagues monitored energy intake, physical activity, and changes in body weight and energy expenditure (EE) for severely obese women (39 black and 66 white) during a six-month weight loss intervention. Comparisons also were assessed in black and white women (25 each) who were matched for initial body weight.

The researchers found that black women lost 3.6 kg less than white women. The two groups had similar adherence to prescribed physical activity, but total daily EE and resting metabolic rate were significantly lower in black vs. white women. For matched black and white women, prescribed energy intake and measured energy intake (approximately 1,800 and 2,600 kcal/day, respectively) were similar. Black women lost significantly less body weight than white women because of lower energy requirements (2,924 ± 279 kcal/day vs. 3,116 ± 340 kcal/day), which resulted in a lower energy deficit.

“Adherence to the behavioral intervention was similar in African-American and Caucasian women,” the authors write. “However, neglecting to account for the lower energy requirements in African-American women when calculating the energy prescription resulted in a lower level of calorie restriction, and hence, less body weight loss.”

One author serves on a board for ILSI North America; one author is employed by Merck Sharp & Dohme.

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