Daily energy expenditure across the course of lactation among urban Bangladeshi women

M. Rashid, Stanley J. Ulijaszek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Measures of energy intake of lactating women in developing countries show that intakes are often lower than those recommended by international bodies, while fat-mass losses are often substantially less than the 3-4 kg used in the calculations of recommendations, suggesting that physiological adaptation must be commonplace among such women. The cost of lactation may be met by reduction in energy expenditure, including reduced physical activity, as well as by mobilization of bodily soft tissue. However, daily energy expenditure of lactating women has been shown to increase across the course of lactation among women in a rural population in the Philippines and an urban population in India, with a decline in body weight across the course of lactation in both studies. In the present study, total daily energy expenditure and anthropometric body composition were measured longitudinally in 68 mothers from a poor urban area of Dhaka, Bangladesh, at 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 months of lactation, to determine whether the increasing energy expenditure across lactation observed elsewhere also occurs in Bangladeshi women. In addition, the extent to which an extended period of lactation was accompanied by weight and body fat change in these women was determined. Energy expenditure by heart-rate monitoring and activity report, and body composition from anthropometry was carried out four times across the 8-month period of lactation. A small decline in body fat mass and a significant increase in total energy expenditure across this period were observed, confirming similar observations elsewhere in the developing world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-465
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999


  • Bangladesh
  • Body composition
  • Energy expenditure
  • Lactation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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