The energy expenditure and hence energy requirements of 12 young Chinese gymnasts attending a specialized school in Beijing were assessed. Total energy expenditure was measured using the doubly labeled water technique and this, in conjunction with measures of basal metabolic rate (BMR), allows the calculation of a physical activity level (PAL). Mean PAL value for the gymnasts was 1.98, which is significantly different from published mean values found in nongymnast children of a similar age. This mean value is equivalent to very heavy levels of physical activity during the periods of training being undertaken. This is the first time that energy expenditure has been noninvasively measured in free-living young gymnasts. The data will be of use to sports scientists and nutritionists alike.
P.S.W. Davies is with the School of Human Movement Studies, Faculty of Health at Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove Campus, Red Hill, Queensland 4059, Australia. J.-Y. Feng, J. Chen, and X.-P. Liu are with the Institute of Sports Medicine at Beijing Medical University, 49 North Gardent Road, Haidion District 100083, Beijing, China. J.A. Crisp, J.M.E. Day, and A. Laidlaw are with MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit, Downhams Lane, Milton Road, Cambridge, United Kingdom.